Australia plan for vote on gay marriage hits stumbling block
Aug 30, 2016, 02:03
NXT leader Nick Xenophon said it should be up to the MPs to take on the responsibility as it was what they were voted in to do.
"Personally, I have no doubt the plebiscite will be carried and the same-sex marriage legislation will then sail through Parliament". That leaves the opposition center-left Labor Party as the government's only hope of getting the Senate to back a popular vote on same-sex marriage.
He also pointed to the high cost of holding the plebiscite which some estimates have at $160 million.
'We want to have marriage equality and we want to do it as quickly as possible, ' he told reporters in Melbourne on Sunday.
Addressing Labor's new shadow ministry, Opposition Leader Bill Shorten railed against the "vile, negative campaign" that a plebiscite would unleash, and reiterated that Labor would continue to push for a free vote in the Parliament.
But the prime minister indicated only holding a plebiscite would lead to a parliamentary vote.
One shadow minister suggested Labor could yet be persuaded to wave the plebiscite through if it approved of the wording - for example, if the question referred to "marriage equality". "It's cheaper, it's quicker and at this stage it's ridiculous to be planning a February plebiscite".
A total of 38 votes are required to block legislation in the Senate, meaning the plebiscite can now only go ahead with support from Labor's 26 senators.
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