Equal marriage hits roadblock in Australia as leaders fail to agree deal

Equal marriage has hit yet another stumbling block in Australia, as the country’s political parties failed to agree a deal on the issue.

The country’s PM Malcolm Turnbull is trying to avoid a rift with his own ultra-conservative MPs by bringing forward plans to take same-sex marriage to the public in a non-binding plebiscite, instead of settling the matter in Parliament.

However, opposition parties are lined up against the $200 million plebiscite – with the draft plebiscite bill even handing $7.5 million of funding to anti-LGBT activists to run a ‘No’ campaign.

As the government does not have a majority in the Senate, its plebiscite bill is expected to be shot down – with many LGBT activists favouring a quick resolution in Parliament to bring through equal marriage..

In a bid to resolve the impasse this week, Turnbull held peace talks with opposition Labor leader Bill Shorten.

However, the talks have ended without compromise on the issue, leaving equality again hanging in the balance.

Long-term equal marriage advocate Rodney Croome said: “It’s no surprise that negotiations over a plebiscite have broken down because the concept is fundamentally flawed and needs to be knocked on the head.

“The sooner a plebiscite is killed off the sooner we can get back on the path of a vote in parliament which has the potential to deliver marriage equality in this term of government without the expense and harm of a plebiscite.

“It’s not Labor or the Senate cross-benchers who are standing in the way of a plebiscite, it’s the majority of LGBTI people and our families because we refuse to suffer a plebiscite under any circumstances and insist on a vote in parliament instead.”

“My message to Labor is to pull the plug and my message to the Government is move on.”

Spokesperson for LGBTI lobby group, just.equal, Ivan Hinton-Teoh said: “Once the plebiscite is denied passage in the Senate the nation will look to the Government for progress.”

“From that point to the election the Government will be held responsible for further delay.”