Australia Opposition leader: Prime Minister will be responsible for ‘hurtful filth’ from equal marriage vote

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Australia’s Labor Party leader Bill Shorten has said that Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull will be responsible for “every hurtful bit of filth” that comes out of the controversial Australian equal marriage postal vote.

In an impassioned speech against the voluntary vote, which will not be subject to laws preventing malicious or misleading campaign materials, Opposition leader Shorten said Turnbull is to blame for the “hateful ideological hobby horse” that will “saddled up”.

“I hold you responsible for every hurtful bit of filth that this debate will unleash,” Shorten said to Parliament this afternoon.

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull (Stefan Postles/Getty Images)

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull (Stefan Postles/Getty Images)

“We say to young Australians who are gay, we are voting in this survey because of you, not because we respect the process, but because the Labor Party will not let gay Australians and young gay people cope with this survey, this evaluation of their relationships, on their own.”

“Every hateful ideological hobby horse will be saddled up for this vote and it is clear who is responsible,” the Opposition Leader concluded.

This came after Turnbull said that he would not pass an equal marriage bill without the public “giving their support” in the mandate.

Although the vote would not change the law, Turnbull says it will clear the way for the government to make the marriage act amendment.

“Our policy is very clear,” said Liberal leader Turnbull to the Senate.

“We will not facilitate the introduction of a private members’ bill on this matter unless the Australian people have given their support through a yes vote through this national vote that we are now undertaking.”

The controversial vote, which is being challenged in the country’s High Court by Andrew Wilkie and marriage equality advocates as it could be “exceeding executive authority”, is still being hailed by the PM as the only path towards marriage equality legislation.

The vote, which would cost the government $122 million and would be run by the Australian Bureau of Statistics, has also faced scrutiny for its expense and validity.

The High Court decision over the validity of the postal vote will be announced on 12 September.

same-sex marriage rally in Sydney, Australia

Equal marriage protest ( PETER PARKS/AFP/Getty Images)

Although Shorten has fiercely campaigned for equal marriage legislation to be passed, his predecessor Julia Gillard only declared her support in 2015 after voting against equal marriage in 2012.

Ex-Prime Minister Tony Abbott has also urged the public to vote “no” against the bill, in spite of facing a horde of criticism from his gay sister.