AUSTRALIA: Marriage Plebiscite Said To Be Dead

Australia’s News Corp outlet reports:

The February same sex marriage plebiscite will not proceed. Talks to save it collapsed today guaranteeing a bitter debate in Parliament where legislation for the national ballot will be defeated in the Senate by Labor and the Greens.

In response to fruitless talks, Labor intensified its portrayal of Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull as a prisoner of his right wing on the issue. The government accused the Opposition of playing political games which could see same sex marriage delayed for a long time, and of refusing to reach common ground.

Attorney-General George Brandis hosted the meeting in Brisbane with Opposition counterpart Mark Dreyfus and afterwards offered to hold a second round before Parliament returns on October 10. But neither side suggested compromises during the talks — the government made no specific offers and Labor made no demands.

The Opposition immediately depicted government intransigence as a sign the right wing was directing the same sex marriage policy, with Mr Turnbull’s authority within his own administration Labor’s ultimate target.