Australian MP: If Greece can hold a referendum in 2 weeks, why can’t we vote on marriage yet?

Illustrated rainbow pride flag on a white background.

One of Tony Abbott’s backbench MPs has fired warning shots – over stalling on a planned public vote on same-sex marriage.

In a bid to avert a showdown with his own MPs over a number of same-sex marriage bills that were set to come to a vote, Australian PM Tony Abbott – a strong opponent of equality – proposed a plebiscite (public vote) on the issue.

Despite all polls finding that an overwhelming majority of the public are in favour of equality – making a plebiscite effectively redundant – Mr Abbott wants to lock in a vote after the next federal election in 2017.

The PM has threatened to sack any of his ministers who rebelled and voted in favour of equality without a public vote  – but a senior backbencher has fired a warning shot over the timing of the planned plebiscite.

Coalition MP Warren Entsch, who submitted one of the marriage bills that Abbott has derailed, publicly scoffed at the timescale of the vote – contrasting it with the Greek bailout referendum, which was proposed on 25 June and took place on 5 July 2015

He told the Star Observer: “If the Greeks can organise something in two weeks I can’t see any reason why we can’t do something, maybe a little bit longer, but… sooner rather than the later because the Australian people are ready for this.

“The longer you let this go on, the more you going to get the extremes of both sides turning it into something that’s just unpleasant.”

Getting personal, he referred to the fact that Abbott has completely isolated himself from his family by opposing equality – preventing his own lesbian sister from marrying in Australia.

Mr Entsch added: “I know in his own household his wife and children and his sister, probably his bloody dog, all support the change.

“He’s the last man standing, we’ve had this discussion and he agrees with me.


“If my son, or my daughter, or my family member wanted to marry somebody that was the love of their life, to me that would be a bloody important issue and I would fight for their right to be able to declare their love and protect their family.”


Though phrased somewhat diplomatically, his comments follow serious unrest and divisions within Mr Abbott’s party about his leadership on the issue.

Under Abbott’s current plan, it is highly unlikely same-sex couples will be able to tie the knot until 2018.