AUSTRALIA: Parties Plot To Stop Malcolm Turnbull’s Marriage Referendum, Demand Vote In Parliament

Two days ago Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull’s Liberal Party announced that a national referendum on same-sex marriage will take place in February. Not so fast, says the opposition. Via Australia’s ABC News:

A plebiscite on same-sex marriage is looking less likely, with the Federal Opposition determined to have a parliamentary vote to change marriage laws instead. The Government has promised to have a national vote — or plebiscite — to determine whether same sex marriage should be allowed.

But the Greens, Labor and the three Senators from the Nick Xenophon Team are all firm that a plebiscite is unnecessary. That would make it impossible for the Government to pass a law to have a national vote.

Labor frontbencher Jim Chalmers has told the ABC a vote in Parliament is the simplest and cheapest way to determine the marriage laws. “I think it says it all about Malcolm Turnbull’s weakness that he is prepared to waste $160 million of taxpayers’ money,” he said.

More from the Sydney Morning Herald:

On Tuesday, an Essential poll found 62 per cent of voters support same-sex marriage, while the same number oppose taxpayer money being given to the ‘yes’ and ‘no’ campaigns.

Labor frontbencher Jim Chalmers said a vote in Parliament was still the most appropriate way to legalise same-sex marriage. “We are trying to get the parliamentary outcome that people expect us to get,” he told ABC radio. “We are putting all of our effort into that.”

Newly elected Victorian senator Derryn Hinch said the vote was unnecessary and a waste of money. “They will muddy the question and muddy the waters so much it will get a ‘no’ vote,” he warned. “It could be off the agenda for 20 years and we will become an international laughing stock.”