It looks like the finish line for Australian Marriage Equality may be pushed further away from our grasp. What I understand is that many are looking for the plebiscite (national opinion poll) to be allowed to occur and then all will see how Australians feel about marriage equality. But having the plebiscite has to be passed first. Did I get that right Australians?
If Malcolm Turnbull hangs on, Australia won't have marriage equality for at least another three years. That depressing prospect flows from the likely composition of the next Senate. The promised plebiscite won't pass the upper house unless Labor, the Greens or the Nick Xenophon Team change their positions of opposing it, and let it be held.
Given Opposition Leader Bill Shorten called the plebiscite a "taxpayer-funded platform for homophobia", and The Greens are even more stridently opposed, it's unlikely they would vote for the legislation to allow a $160 million national opinion poll.
…So unless something gives, or Labor somehow cobbles a win, the possibility of that most benign and modest of reforms will be kicked off into the next term. The political numbers mean Australia will continue to lag much of the western world. It will remain behind even Argentina, Brazil, and Colombia.
Despite 70 per cent of Australians supporting marriage equality, according to last week's Fairfax Ipsos poll, and just 22 per cent against, it will not be passed. Despite many Australians just wanting it to be done with so we can stop talking about it, we will talk about it for years to come. Despite there now being three gay members in the House – and all of them Liberal – the election's big winners are those few who can't abide the gays being wed.
Labor opposes the plebiscite. The Greens oppose the plebiscite. Nick Xenophon opposes the plebiscite, although he's hasn't committed to voting it down. Many ifs and some buts, but that likely means 39 votes against a plebiscite in a Senate of 76. It won't matter that Hinch, who supports marriage equality, will back a plebiscite or that Hanson, who opposes equality, will too.
On current numbers, the plebiscite is cooked. The delaying tactic dreamt up by Tony Abbott in a desperate bid to keep his job will mean that Australia will keep both its ban on same-sex couples getting married and the ridiculous compulsory government announcement at straight weddings that gay couples cannot join the club.
Equality is not gone forever, but it's about to be put off for a few years yet.
For marriage equality, a better result than Turnbull just scraping back would have been a strong win for Turnbull in the House, and a worse result for the left in the Senate. That would have led to an ugly plebiscite, but one which would have passed. Instead, the election looks like it's stymied it.
The worry for the next three years does not inevitably flow from the likelihood of a hung parliament. Such results do not have to deliver unstable governments. Britain managed perfectly well with a coalition between Conservatives and Liberal Democrats. It wasn't until Britain returned to a majority administration last year that the Brexit die was cast, the greatest act of national self-harm in recent memory.
But the assault on Turnbull's power and the likely shift in the Senate will move Australian politics to the right, and marriage equality is just one of the probable casualties. – Sydney Morning Herald
For more info on this story, head on over to the full article on the Sydney Morning Herald website.