#marriagequality My cartoon from today’s @theheraldsun pic.twitter.com/bNKV8IL83J
— Mark Knight (@Knightcartoons) August 13, 2015
Minister Scott Morrison said legalising same-sex marriages should be put to a referendum which would enable the government to change the constitution, rather than changing legislation.
His comments follow the government’s decision on Tuesday to ban a free vote for its MPs on any gay marriage bill.
Mr Morrison told local media this week he was proposing a referendum because, “I believe that is the best way to get to a conclusion on this issue which all Australians can accept”.
It’s been reported that Mr Abbott would be dragging his feet on a referendum (which is a binding vote used to approve a change to the Australian constitution, and requires a majority of states and a national majority), after saying on Tuesday it should be put to the people in a plebiscite (which is non-binding and is used to decide a national question that does not affect the constitution, and requires only a national majority) instead.
Recent poll information established that the majority of Australians had no objections to same sex marriages, with poll results in favour of same-sex marriages ranging from just under 60% for Newspoll and Essential polls held in June, to as high as 72% for a Crosby Textor poll held a year earlier.
“We know that if both parties don’t support a referendum, they never succeed,” Labor Leader Bill Shorten said on Thursday in response to the proposal adding that it was nothing more than an expensive delaying technique.
In 1999 the Australian republic vote referendum cost the country coffers AU$67m, says the Australian Electoral Commission.
Supporting their point, the Opposition has also pointed out that Australia’s High Court has said marriage laws are a matter for the parliament, not the constitution.
Mr Shorten has pledged to introduce same-sex marriage legislation within the first 100 days if Labor wins the next election, due in 2016.
Mr Abbott, who personally opposes same-sex marriage, on Wednesday said under Liberal Party policy, any MPs who defied the agreed position to oppose gay marriage would be sacked, said bbc.com in a report published this week.