The Age reports that: A “yes” vote in a proposed 2017 plebiscite on same-sex marriage equality would deliver the change immediately, with legislation to be put to Parliament before the next election under a new plan being considered by Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull.
This means that the legislative change, which the vast proportion of the Australian population want, is at least two years away.
The Age termed this a “sudden acceleration of the reform process.”
If this is a sudden acceleration, I’d hate to see something being slowed down.
The test will come for Malcolm Turnbull in overcoming the right wing in his party, who are already beginning to raise objections.
Assistant Minister for Multicultural Affairs and Social Services Concetta Fierravanti-Wells said that support for same-sex marriage could place under threat some of our most marginal seats which have disproportionately high religious and migrant communities,” she said.
Surely that’s not the point.
It’s not whether this policy will damage the liberal government in marginal seats, it’s whether this is a socially just and equitable policy for Australia.
The Age also reported that dumped cabinet minister Eric Abetz has unleashed a blistering attack on a proposal to have the current Parliament vote in favour of same-sex marriage ahead of a 2017 plebiscite, describing it as a “thought bubble” and “ambush to boot”.
And Senator Abetz, a vocal opponent of gay marriage, warned the idea would do nothing to heal the wounds caused by September leadership spill.
Poor old Senator Abetz, He seems to think that the change of leadership should not bring about policy change because doing so won’t heal the wounds.
What about the wounds were made during Abbott’s prime ministership: many and various? The Australian electorate is hoping that Turnbull will now take the opportunityto heal those.
This will be a test of Turnbull’s leadership. If he goes ahead with this particular plan, he will effectively be endorsing the approach that Abbott took.: “Delay it for long enough and it will go away.”
Eventually, Turnbull is going to have to show who was in charge: Him or the right wing of the party.
This plan makes it look as if nothing has changed since Abbott was deposed and a small group of social conservatives remain the dominant power within the Liberal party room.
Turnbull needs to demonstrate that this is not true.
The ill-defined plebiscite approach Turnbull inherited from Abbott is not guaranteed to resolve the issue. This is because it was never articulated in any detail or subject to a proper process.
Indeed, the suspicion of many marriage equality supporters was that it was conceived merely to put the issue off.
When the plebiscite proposal emerged back in August, Turnbull made it abundantly clear that he considered it a bad idea.