Monday 29 August 2016
Speculation about the proposed plebiscite on Marriage Equality will continue until the Government announces its intentions as to firstly, when it will take place and secondly, what the question will be.
As is usual the Prime Minister invoked that tired old strategy of blaming Labor. On Insiders yesterday he said if “Labor does not go along with the plebiscite gay marriage is a long way away”.
To my way of thinking that is a preposterous thing for a Prime Minister who supports Marriage Equality and opposed to the plebiscite to say.
He knows that if he had the balls, he has it in his power to put a stop to the speculation and simply bring on a vote in the parliament.
Bill Shorten is right to bring up all the vagaries surrounding the implementation of a plebiscite including the cost and the social upheaval. The cost is now reported to be $250 million.
As one who worked on the Republican referendum I can well remember the misinformation Tony Abbott was responsible for then back. I can well imagine what he would say as self-appointed leader of the ‘NO’ vote campaign aided and abetted by the fundamentalist Christian movement. It will be a barrage of bigotry dressed up as debate. Homophobia will run rampant.
And no one should underestimate the social turmoil the debate has the potential to produce. People will say the most outrageous things and make the vilest of accusations. They will shout at each other and religious hatred will bare itself on the streets.
We will see an ugly underbelly of our nation. Arrogance and ignorance will abound and gay folk will be targeted and shouted at. The PM will call for calm while Tony Abbott and others infest our natural sense of fairness and decency with their lies.
The Coalition has a majority in the Lower House and their Legislation will pass it. Should both the Greens and Labor both oppose it then the government will require the support of the cross benches. On my reckoning it won’t pass.
The question must also be asked as to what Labor’s motivation is in blocking the Legislation.
Note this odd exchange on Insiders.
BARRIE CASSIDY: On the plebiscite, is it doomed, is the legislation doomed?
MALCOLM TURNBULL: No, the legislation will be introduced. It will be passed in the House and then we’ll have to see how it goes in the Senate. I think Labor will support it. I know…
BARRIE CASSIDY: Even now? They were briefing last night that they weren’t. They were even…
MALCOLM TURNBULL They would say that, wouldn’t they?
BARRIE CASSIDY: They were even briefing that they’re getting information from pollsters that if you have a plebiscite it will go down.
Why would Labor be briefing that a plebiscite would go down?
Is it purely to grasp the reward when it does go through under them? Is it to make the Prime Minister look bad? It would be a disaster for the Prime Minister given his own personal position and a strategic victory for the opposition. Is Labor milking it for all its worth.
It needs 39 Senate votes to pass. I can only count 31. It needs 9 of the 11 crossbench Senators. On that basis it would be unlikely to happen. Hinch said he will not support it. Senator Day will. That means it needs 8 out of the other 9 crossbench Senators. That’s a big ask. It would need support from both Hanson and Xenophon. Xenophon is unlikely to support it – being supportive of gay marriage. So I can’t see how it can pass.
Labor might be better off letting the Senate reject the legislation and avoid the blame. Given that it will be blocked one way or the other what happens then? Does it just go away until such time as a Labor Government is elected and does what Governments are elected to do? Express the will of the people.
If the PM had any balls he would just drop the need for a plebiscite and just put it to a vote in the parliament. He cannot in my view come out of this looking good.
My thought for the day.
“Love is when there is an irresistible urge for the need of the affection of another and the irresistibility is of its nature mutual. It has no gender”.