Australian same-sex marriage standoff

CCTV News

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Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull is hoping to minimize any fallout over his government’s handling of the country’s same-sex marriage debate. That debate has stalled in parliament where the country’s major parties are locked in a political stalemate over how to handle the issue.

CCTV’s Greg Navarro explains.

Australian same-sex marriage stand-off

Australian same-sex marriage stand-off

Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull is hoping to minimize any fallout over his government’s handling of the country’s same-sex marriage debate. That debate has stalled in parliament where the country’s major parties are locked in a political stalemate over how to handle the issue. CCTV’s Greg Navarro explains.

Before Former Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott lost his party’s leadership last year, he announced the country would hold a plebiscite on whether to legalise same sex marriage.

A plebiscite involves a public vote on an issue which parliament ultimately decides.

But its non-binding, meaning members of parliament don’t have to follow the results of the public vote.

Abbott’s liberal party successor Turnbull continued the strategy of holding a plebiscite.

“This is a big issue, a big issue that concerns all Australians and we believe that all Australians should be entitled to have their say,”  Turnbull said.

Unlike Abbott, Turnbull supports same sex marriage, as does the majority of members of parliament, and the majority of Australian voters.

“The prime minister has to bother with a plebiscite in order to appease the right wing of his party,” University of Technology Sydney Senior Lecturer, Bligh Grant said.

Earlier this month, opposition leader Bill Shorten, who also supports same sex marriage, announced his party would not support a plebiscite, instead calling for a free vote in parliament, meaning members are free to vote their conscience.

“Why should gay Australians be subjected to a different lawmaking process than any other Australians,” Shorten said.

That has effectively stalled the effort indefinitely, which isn’t sitting well with people on both sides of the issue.

“So lesbian and gay people are looking on, feeling pretty powerless at a national discussion that needs to catch up to where the Australian people are,” Australians of Equality Director Tiernan Brady said.

While several polls showed the majority of Australians supported a plebiscite, which support dropped quickly down to about 25 percent once it was revealed that a plebiscite would costs taxpayers here more than $100 million.

Unless either party changes its position, which is unlikely, the question of whether to legalise same sex marriage in Australia won’t be addressed until at least the next federal election.