February vote on same-sex marriage
AUSTRALIA plans to hold a national vote on February 11 on whether to allow same-sex marriage, Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull said yesterday, despite critics warning it could unleash homophobia.
Mr Turnbull went to July 2 elections promising every Australian could have their say on gay marriage via a plebiscite.
“Our job is to ensure that the people have the opportunity to express their view and to do so in a manner that is fair and impartial,” he said.
Mr Turnbull said he would introduce a bill to parliament this week which he expected would be passed by the lower house. But he admitted it could be blocked by opponents in the Senate, where the government does not hold an outright majority.
“There will be a plebiscite on the 11th of February unless [opposition Labor leader] Bill Shorten decides to block it [in the Senate],” he said.
Labor has not yet decided on the referendum, but Mr Shorten has described it as a “taxpayer-funded platform for homophobia”. –