|Turnbull signalled on Friday that the controversial marriage equality plebiscite, if held, would be followed by a conscience vote in parliament. That gives conservatives an out if the nation votes in favour, raising the obvious question: why have a plebiscite at all?
Turnbull sees no issue, stating that if most Australians voted in favour of marriage equality, MPs would be guided by that result. So that’s a conscience vote where every conservative in the parliament votes yes, you say? Hmm …
Who better to expand on this thinking but the treasurer, Scott Morrison,who earlier this week compared the “hate speech” and bigotry he’d received for opposing same-sex marriage with that experienced by same-sex-attracted people.
Morrison said he would “respect” the result of the plebiscite, but did not clarify whether that meant he’d support the national vote or that of his electorate. Either way, you can see the limits of Turnbull’s approach-in-good-faith pretty quickly, as Murph unpicks here.
Labor’s Penny Wong was not amused, pointing out that Turnbull – a supporter of marriage equality himself, he says – had given its opponents a free vote after the election but not its supporters one beforehand.