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Australian PM commits to marriage equality public vote by the ‘end of the year’

Australian PM commits to marriage equality public vote by the ‘end of the year’

Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull assured voters there would be a vote on gay marriage

Australian Prime Minister, Malcolm Turnbull said on Monday that the plebiscite on marriage equality would go ahead as planned before the end of this year.

If voted back into power at the July 2 federal election, Prime Minister Turnbull renewed his support for the public vote.

‘We will hold it as soon as possible after the election,’ he said.

‘Given that the election is on 2 July, we do have ample time between then and the end of the year. So I would expect it to be held this calendar year,’ he confirmed on Monday.

Sydney Mardi Gras 2016
Sydney Mardi Gras 2016

The public vote on marriage equality is expected to cost $160 million.

Labor Opposition leader, Bill Shorten has committed to scrapping the costly plebiscite and taking the issue straight to parliament if elected in July.

‘LGBTI Australians, and their families, should not have to wait any longer to have the same rights as every other person in this country,’ Shorten said in a press release last month.

‘We can, and should, make marriage equality a reality now,’ Shorten said.

Some Liberal party members have already confirmed that even if the majority of the public vote in favour of marriage equality, they will still vote against it – as a plebiscite is not a binding commitment.

‘All I can do is give you my commitment to hold a plebiscite as soon as we can,’ Prime Minister Turnbull said.

‘It will be a very straightforward question and we’ll be asking the Australian people whether they support the definition of marriage being extended to include couples of the same-sex,’ he specified.