Australian poll finds record unhappiness after party politics derails equal marriage

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Polling in Australia has shown record levels of dissatisfaction with the political system, after the major political parties failed to agree a path to equal marriage becoming law.

Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull, who heads a right-wing coalition, had tried to avoid a split within his own government on the issue of same-sex marriage by putting the issue to a public vote (plebiscite).

However, the plans were blocked last month when the opposition Labor Party banded together with Greens and smaller parties to vote down the plebiscite bill in the Senate, believing the issue should be entirely settled in Parliament and that a public vote would be costly and harmful.

After talks between the government and opposition failed to agree a clear path forward on the issue, there are now fears that Australia may not achieve equal marriage for years to come without a cross-party deal.

Polling this week showed both support for equal marriage and dissatisfaction with the political system at record-high levels.

According to the Australian Election Study, conducted by The Australian National University, support for equal marriage has reached a high of 70 percent among the general public.

Meanwhile 40 per cent are not satisfied with democracy in Australia, the lowest level since the 1970s.

Just.equal spokesperson Ivan Hinton-Teoh said: “The Government has an excellent opportunity to restore faith in the political system and boost its own support by allowing a free vote so marriage equality can pass.”

“Australians desperately want the Government to show leadership on issues like marriage equality instead of continuing to delay and frustrate reform.”