Remember how, when faced with what is overwhelming public opinion, Labor and Greens parties sided with the voting public and killed off the Coalition‘s proposed plebiscite on marriage equality? Because it’s been shown to have damaging consequences for at-risk and vulnerable LGBTQI youth in other countries? And because the primary reasons fuelling the “argument” against it are religious and fear-based?
Some Coalition MPs have apparently decided that they don’t give a flying shit about what anyone thinks, and are pushing ahead with a plan to hold a plebiscite through a manner that would skirt a parliamentary vote entirely.
Conservative Liberal MPs and members of the National party are reportedly pushing the Coalition Government to move ahead with a plebiscite that will be held bia non-mandatory informal postal vote. What on earth could possibly go wrong there.
It’s not even remotely a secret that the far-right arms of the Liberal and National parties would very much like this whole brouhaha to sod off forever, and the line religion-backed political factions keep pushing is that it is apparently a “debate we need to have.”
“It’s absurd to suggest that the problem with the marriage equality conversation is that we’re not listening enough to people who object to it on religious grounds.
It’s an issue that can’t really be solved by debate because it’s never been about facts. If the argument that marriage is for the creation of children was true, straight couples that didn’t plan to have kids or couldn’t for medical reasons would be barred from the institution as well. If it was about children needing a mother and a father, the opponents of same-sex marriage would also be working hard to make sure single parents had their children taken away.”
The model being proposed by conservative MPs, who are understood to have met with cabinet colleagues to discuss its feasibility, the Australian Electoral Commission would conduct the plebiscite entirely via postal ballot, and voting in the plebiscite would be non-compulsory – meaning it would be up to the backers of the individual “sides” to aggressive push advertising campaigns imploring people to actually vote in it. Y’know, the kind of thing where absolutely no harm could ever come from.
This model of plebiscite could be held without ever taking it to the floor of parliament, skirting the voting process entirely and allowing the Government to go ahead and do it whether the public wants it or not (hint: they fucking don’t).
In slightly less-blood pressure spiking news, moderate Liberal MPs are reportedly extremely cagey about the idea, given that a) it means the issue would dominate political discourse for months leading up to the vote, b) the vote being voluntary means any result could potentially be compromised (particularly by conservative MPs stinging for any way to completely ignore an affirmative result), and c) the public anger that circumventing Parliament on an issue that was previously killed off by a free vote would, quite obviously, be great.
The report, published by NewsCorp, did not contain the names of any of the MPs that are part of this new push. But if you had three guesses as to who was behind it, you certainly wouldn’t burn through two before hitting the target.
Photo: Boston Globe/Getty.