Turnbull Govt set to be defeated on gay marriage vote.

Posted: August 29, 2016 in Political musings, Popular Culture et al
Tags: , , , , , ,

Testing times for the Government with its plan to hold a nationwide vote on “gay marriage” (or “marriage equality” as it is better termed).

With the Nick “Team” Xenophon votes in Parliament now definitely against the plan, Labor will be extremely unlikely to back the plan, even if there was ever any rarely chance of them doing so. They could, theoretically, still decide to abstain, allowing the Government to escape with a win on the floor of the Senate by default, but their current rhetoric would seem to make that unlikely, and they would be roundly criticised for allowing a measure to pass that they have stated categorically they believe should be scrapped.

Our view is that the Government will still “test” the Parliament with a vote – judging that a defeat in Parliament will be less damaging to their stocks than just giving up on on their manifesto pledge altogether.

The likely breakdown of votes can be seen below, courtesy of The Age’s neat Senate-working-out interactive map, assuming Family First vote in favour of the plebiscite as their last best chance to get the people to reject marriage equality, and we are basing Lambie’s likely vote on the basis of her earlier statements that Australians should have the right to vote in a referendum on gay marriage but she would ‘fight like hell’ against any changes.



Looking dicey for Turnbull gay marriage vote.

Looking dicey for Turnbull gay marriage vote.


Assuming the above scenario works out then it seems virtually impossible for the Government to avoid a free vote on the topic in Parliament as an alternative to the plebiscite, though when that might be is problematical. They could theoretically take a bill to reform the marriage act to the next election, so they can claim a mandate to make the necessary changes if they win again, but that would seem to drag out what has already been a marathon national debate way too far.

There is clearly a mood in the country for change, even though pockets of strong and principled resistance remain. But the case has now been argued endlessly and surely the reform side has won.

As one caller to talkback radio in Melbourne put it last week to the relevant government minister, “For heaven’s sake, just get it done!”

Yes, that was us.

All of which also frees up a staggering $160 million which was going to be wasted on a non-binding vote to be spent on something else, or at the least chucked back into the empty government pot to go towards reducing the deficit. That sweetens the pill for the Government somewhat: umpteen million taxpayers will be pleased.

  1. Pat A says:

    I wish they would let gay people marry, it does seem wrong that they shouldn’t be allowed to. Oh – if a gay couple marry abroad in a country where it is legal, how does Australia view it if it isn’t legal for same sex marriages in Australia? I bet that (and similar conflicts of viewpoint) keeps lawyers on all sides well fed and in work for years…


    • Stephen Yolland says:

      The answer is, bizarrely that some State governments respect the overseas marriAge, and some don’t, and the Federal Govt doesn’t. It’s a right schemozzle.


  2. underwriiter505 says:

    Even lining up iron-clad legislation is not the end of the debate. Look at various events in the US since the Obergefell decision. Yesterday you addressed why we hate each other so much. I have never understood why “straight” people hate anyone whose sexuality if different from their own do much. I can hypothesize fear – either fear that one’s own sexuality is not so firm as one would like, or fear that someone, somewhere, is “getting more” than oneself. But those are explanations that don’t really explain.


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