Australian Prime Minister breaks election promise of gay marriage vote this year

Malcolm Turnbull

The Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull has broken an election pledge he made to hold a public vote om same-sex marriage by the end of the year.

Instead Mr Turnbull announced that the plebiscite would take place in February 2017.


A new timeline for the same-sex marriage vote is expected to be announced at a Coalition party room taking place on 13 September.

During the election, Mr Turnbull had promised that the plebiscite on same-sex marriage, which has been criticised for being costly and unnecessary, would take place before the end of this year.

Meanwhile the leader of the opposition Bill Shorten is attempting to have parliament decide on the issue.

Mr Turnbull inherited the idea of a plebiscite from ousted predecessor Tony Abbott, but has refused to allow coalition MPs to have a free vote on the issue.

Turnbull said that he could not just hold a parliamentary vote on equal marriage because “he is not a dictator” – so a public vote is being held.

Labour have criticised the move calling it expensive and pointless. The vote is estimated to cost $160 million of taxpayers money.

The liberal party remains divided on equality issues and Turnbull himself has been a vague supporter of equal marriage.

He previously came under fire for removing LGBT content from a sex education campaign.