Reports have emerged that two Liberal Party pollies have been secretly preparing a private members’ bill that’d enable parliament itself to vote on the issue of marriage equality, just a few hours after MP Christopher Pyne reaffirmed his position that the Coalition government would continue with the plebiscite as its preferred method of handling the debate.
The Sydney Morning Herald claims senator Dean Smith and MP Trent Zimmermann are behind the prospective bill, which intends to allow members of parliament to settle the issue via a conscience vote – and not through a humongously-expensive and crucially non-binding public vote.
Incredibly, if the bill is selected by the parliamentary committee, the whole deal could be settled as quickly as August. That’s a big if, considering lingering tensions in the party regarding the issue, but still.
What’s more is that Pyne himself, an avowed supporter of same-sex marriage, is thought to have been in the know about the bill. If that’s the case, his recent leaked comments on the issue – in which he said “your friends in Canberra are working on that outcome, it might even be sooner than everyone thinks” – make a whole lot more sense.
Regardless, Pyne’s office provided SMH with a statement reaffirming his commitment to the plebiscite. So.
As an indicator of just how fractious the whole situation is, Deputy PM Barnaby Joyce told ABC that Pyne’s leaked comments were essentially spurred by a few too many frothies.
. @Barnaby_Joyce says Christopher Pyne’s leaked comments on same-sex marriage aren’t to be taken seriously. pic.twitter.com/EP066pBPH2
— News Breakfast (@BreakfastNews) June 26, 2017
Amid all of the inter-party conflict, it’s nice to realise this really could be it, Australia.
Source: Sydney Morning Herald.
Photo: Boston Globe / Getty.