Let’s Talk: Is this Malcolm Turnbull’s first broken promise?

He promised to deliver on a plebiscite regarding same-sex marriage this year, but looks like that isn’t going to happen. While

He promised to deliver on a plebiscite regarding same-sex marriage this year, but looks like that isn’t going to happen. While Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull said during the election campaign that he expected the plebiscite to be held by the end of the 2016, the Australian Electoral Commission provided advice to the government last week that “strongly recommended” against that timing.

Labor has criticised Malcolm Turnbull and his government for the proposed delay of the same-sex marriage plebiscite to 2017. “Mr Turnbull is willing to waste taxpayers’ money and provide a platform for hate campaigns, all because he doesn’t have the guts to put a vote to Parliament,” Opposition Leader Bill Shorten said. “Let’s just get on with it. Parliament should do its job and deal with a marriage equality bill, with all parties afforded a free vote.”

The Prime Minister’s office said in a statement that the commitment to hold plebiscite “as soon as practicable” had not changed.

“The mechanics of the plebiscite, including the specific question and the timing, are subject to the usual cabinet processes. No decisions have as yet been made,” the statement said.

Former High Court justice Michael Kirby agrees with Mr Shorten, saying it’s better to wait for parliament to deal with same-sex marriage than hold a divisive and non-binding public vote that sets a precedent. “It will mean that any time there is something that is controversial, that’s difficult for the parliamentarians to address or they don’t want to address, they’ll send it out to a plebiscite,” he told ABC radio on Monday. “Australia’s politicians didn’t need a plebiscite to end discrimination against Aborigines, women, non-white immigrants or people with disabilities so they shouldn’t need one for gay people.”

He drew a parallel with the recent Brexit vote in the UK, saying that was an unnecessary national poll and the result shattered expectations.

Australia’s parliaments weren’t working well at the moment but instead of putting tricky issues out to a plebiscite we should be strengthening parliament and making sure it did its job.

The public weren’t asked when politicians moved to give equality in law to Aboriginal people, to end the White Australia policy, to advance women’s equality or for disabled people.

“Why are we now picking out the LGBT, the gay community?” Mr Kirby asked. “It’s simply an instance of hate and dislike, hostility to a small minority in our population, it’s un-Australian.”

“Another broken promise by Malcolm Turnbull,” Labor immigration spokesman Shayne Neumann said, repeating the opposition’s warning that the campaign leading up to the plebiscite will be divisive and hurtful.

Greens leader Richard Di Natale said he was unsurprised by the “delay tactic”, calling the plebiscite a “pointless” sham that would be costly, divisive and ignored by some Coalition MPs anyway.

“Delays are the entire point of the Liberals’ plebiscite ploy. They don’t want to end discrimination in the law, they want to push it off to the never-never,” Senator Di Natale said.

Same-sex marriage – and the details of how the debate should be resolved – remain a divisive proposition inside the Coalition.

Labor has said the move represents a broken promise from the Prime Minister and reiterating the call for a free vote among MPs to decide the matter this year.

Public support for same-sex marriage is consistently strong. A Fairfax-Ipsos poll last year showed 68 per cent in favour and 25 per cent opposed.

So let’s talk: Do you think there will be more broken promises from the Turnbull government? Do you think that the plebiscite on same sex marriage should be avoided completely and left to the parliament to decide?

  1. I think we have all be living in denial, this is NOT the Malcolm Turnbull of 2/3 years ago, this Malcolm is pleasing his cronies and not the community. Breaking promises will now continue, as they have always done, pity we can’t get a PM who sees things for what they are and head down the fair road.

  2. Gary Ryan  

    Lets get on with it.They had a chance to find most peoples decisions by putting the question in the census at no extra cost.

  3. graeme  

    This is #1 as we all know this vote was due this YEAR. How many more will there be and who will keep count and remember for the next election to remove the liars and bull s—- artists. there is bound to be more lies an back flips to come. Also if Australia goes into recession all other party’s will be blamed not the one causing same

  4. Helen  

    The law just needs to be changed back to what was before John Howard just changed it. Marriage between two persons – what business is it of any of us who someone loves. This is insulting and discriminatory towards all those in the LGBTI community

  5. There was no plebiscite when John Howard changed the Marriage Act to what it is today. It is shown over and again in polls that the majority of Australians want marriage equality. I am gay and think that this will cause serious issues when the No vote get going with their religious crap. Just a reminder folks, this isn’t about children as the No vote would have you believe – Gay and Lesbian couple cans already adopt under current state laws. Children will not be harmed or left missing a parent. I vote for NO plebiscite- a waste of money and will cause all sorts of harm to people who dont deserve it. Cheers Mike

  6. Patsy Walker  

    The whole plebiscite debacle is an utter farce. A total waste of tax payers money, which is desperately needed in many areas of the community. eg new hospitals, care for the homeless etc. It should indeed be avoided completely and the parliament should take the bull by the horns for once and show some leadership and make a decision. End of story. Either way, some people will be happy, some not. You can’t please all of the people all of he time! So what, that’s life!! Grow up Australia and stop the nit picking and back stabbing
    between the various individuals in Canberra. It is unbecoming for people in your position to be behaving in such a way.

  7. Roy Bridges  

    Dont care ,, non of them on both sides do what they say!

  8. Terry Harris  

    Surprise, surprise, High Court Judge Michael Kirby, who was breaking the law for years, doesn’t want the people to decide things. He then tries to use Brexit as an example that the ordinary people are too dumb to think for themselves. Brexit was in fact the people telling the pollies and the other “intellectual superior beings” that they can think for themselves, and are fed being told to “shut it”.

    • Rod Tonkin  

      Agree totally. The will of the people count not a bunch of talking heads.

  9. Charles  

    More important things than a plebiscite for same sex marriage. What about fixing the deficit, roads, hospitals, immigration etc the list goes on. Australia is paying one million dollars a month in interest alone on borrowed money. Same sex marriage is a minor priority, sort the place out first.

    • Chris  

      Well said Charles, you beat me to it.

    • colin  

      Charles.. the plebiscite is Not needed what is needed is FULL AND EQUAL RIGHTS FOR ALL which can be fixed in parliament > so you may be happily married to a female with all those rights of yours and think there are more important things than equal rights BUT and its A Big BUT…. as for Turnbull i am surprised he hint used the care an anon core promises.

  10. Joan Marshall  

    The Prime Minister has far more important issues to attend to than same sex marriage. Wake up same sex people. Let Mr Turnbull sort out more important issues first.

  11. RCHenry  

    The money to be spent on a plebiscite could best be spent on something of value to all of us – like medical research. An alternative is get politicians to vote and bring in a new form of contract called anything but marriage for homosexuals.
    Anyone who expects a politicians promise to be kept is deluded given our recent history.

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