Australian PM hints: You can probably start shopping for gay wedding gifts

Australia’s Prime Minister has predicted that same-sex marriage will be passed, and hinted that people can start shopping for gay wedding gifts now.

The country’s current right-wing Coalition government is deeply divided on marriage equality, despite overwhelming public support.

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull supports holding a plebiscite (public vote) on the issue after the upcoming federal election – a compromise designed to avoid a rift with some of his own ultra-conservative MPs.

Mr Turnbull has predicted that if the vote goes ahead, equality will prevail as it did in the Republic of Ireland.

He told Tasmanian radio station 7HO FM: “I will be voting yes, I will be voting to legalise same-sex marriage, and I think the plebiscite will be carried. I think it will be a positive vote.”

Asked by the hosts whether they should start shopping for gay wedding gifts, he hinted: “That’s up to you… but I think you’re unlikely to be disappointed.”

The PM added that he understands the plebiscite plan is “frustrating”, but that he was not leader when the compromise deal was agreed.

He said: “It was the decision of our parties – our party room came to the collective view that this was an issue that the Australian people should be able to express a view on.

“There’s no question, it’s not the traditional way of resolving matters… it was the view taken by the party room before I was Prime Minister.

“It’s a view that we’re committed to and it’s thoroughly democratic. I can understand it’s frustrating for people who want to get on with it, and obviously it has a cost associated with it – but it will be a thoroughly democratic process.”

The date of the plebiscite is in flux for a number of reasons.

The vote is planned for after the next Federal Election, but it is currently unclear when the Federal Election will actually be called – with the latest possible date in January 2017.

Further complicating the issue, if the pro-LGBT opposition Labor Party ousts Turnbull’s Coalition, it would scrap the plebiscite entirely in favour of a simple Parliamentary vote on equal marriage.