Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull
Turnbull Extends Time Frame For Potential Marriage Equality Plebiscite

When will Australia finally see marriage equality?

After narrowly securing victory following this year’s federal elections, Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull has stated that the country might have to wait until next year for a potential plebiscite on marriage equality.

The plebiscite, a public opinion poll that would not change the law, was introduced by former Prime Minister Tony Abbott in what many see as a delaying tactic. Already government officials opposed to marriage equality have come out and said they will vote ‘no’ even if there is a resounding result of ‘yes.’

During an interview with ABC’s 7.30 show, Turnbull stated that his party will bring forward the legislation for a plebiscite later this year. He noted that it would be up to Parliament as to when the legislation actually passes.

When pushed for an actual date on the plebiscite, Turnbull said, “We would like the plebiscite to be held as soon as practicable, but again, that will depend on when the legislation is passed.”

Noting that Parliament doesn’t resume until August 30, the Prime Minister said that if the plebiscite is not held during the latter half of this year, it would be held early next year.

Speaking on his commitment to hold the plebiscite, Turnbull said, “My commitment to having it dealt with as soon as practicable is there,” before mentioning that the support of the Senate still must be obtained. That will have to wait because “We don’t even know who the senators will be at this stage.”

Although it is projected that the new Parliament will have a strong majority of equal marriage supporters, it is unclear whether Labor will agree to a plebiscite.

PFLAG recently released reports that support for a plebiscite has dropped among Australians. At the beginning of the year, it was reported that 66% of Australian’s supported a plebiscite with the number dropping to just 60% support after the election.

National spokesperson for PFLAG, Shelley Argent believes this drop shows a growing public awareness of how unnecessary and damaging a plebiscite will be.

She said, “More and more Australians are beginning to see that a plebiscite is just a delaying tactic and one that will cause hurt and harm.”

Australian Marriage Equality National Convenor Rodney Croome continues to be vocal about the issues with holding a plebiscite. He has argued that Australians must continue to push for a vote in parliament without a plebiscite.

He recently highlighted that the reason marriage equality has continued to gain support is that the community has refused to divert from the end goal of equal marriage rights.