As we reported earlier this week, Bill Shorten recently introduced new legislation with an aim to legalise same-sex marriage. The movement from the opposition came following criticism to the coalition’s original plans to run a plebiscite. The plebiscite is set to implement a national vote over whether marriage equality should be legalised, and it will cost $15 million of public funding. So far, it has been met with a lot of negative feedback.
Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull, however, today agreed that negotiation and compromise is essential in order for policies, such as the same-sex marriage plebiscite, to make it through Parliament.
The government recently revealed an amended superannuation package following anger over Coalition proposals. The following day, Melbourne 3AW radio station asked Turnbull if changes to the plebiscite, as well as other issues that the government has previously refused to change, such as company tax cuts could also be reformed due to public outrage.
The Prime Minister then defended the superannuation policy by saying it was “improved” and “only one part of a sweeping package.” However, after further questioning from the radio station, Turnbull eventually said he might be willing to negotiate the plebiscite.
“We may have to negotiate on all of these matters. The one thing that is very clear is that you cannot expect to get legislation through the senate on a take it or leave it basis, unless people agree with the proposition,” he said. “I’m going to compromise, if I have to, with the members in the Senate.” However, he refused to foreshadow or promise any specific changes.
Turnbull also said the government had strong support from the crossbench on certain measures, such as changes to the Fair Work Act to intervene in the Country Fire Authority dispute.“But there will be other measures where we will need to make amendments and compromises, and the Australian people understand that,” he added.
Many Australians have been concerned following the plebiscite announcement this week. So far it has appeared to be doomed, with Labor, the Nick Xenophon Team and the Greens predicted to vote ‘no’ when the time comes.
Turnbull hasn’t yet eliminated a free vote, but on Thursday he warned that if other parties block the plebiscite, “the resolution of the same-sex marriage issue will be postponed potentially for a very long time”.