A poll of voters in the prime minister’s own electorate found a majority wanted a vote for marriage reform to go straight to parliament.
The poll from Reachtel found 63% of voters in Wentworth, Malcolm Turnbull’s electorate, support marriage equality and want the vote to take place within parliament to avoid a drawn-out and costly plebiscite – estimated at $160m (US$113).
‘Malcolm Turnbull knew from the start that a plebiscite was an expensive and divisive attempt to delay marriage equality and now it’s clear his constituents agree with that,’ Australian Marriage Equality national director, Rodney Croome, said.
‘The Prime Minister’s current position of supporting a plebiscite is way out of step with his own electorate and his voters want him to dump Tony Abbott’s policy of delaying marriage equality.’
Leader of the opposition Bill Shorten said Malcolm Turnbull is dragging his feet. ‘What we want on marriage equality is the old Malcolm Turnbull, not the new Malcolm Turnbull,’ he said.
Turnbull said upon his election he would carry out Tony Abbott’s plans for a decisive plebiscite.
The proposal has been divisive in Australia’s government with a number of conservatives warning an ambivalent vote would it ‘incumbent’ upon them to then vote against it once it reaches parliament.
Conservative backbenchers like Cory Bernardi and Eric Abetz, however, said they would still not be bound by a positive result.
The plebiscite was called a ‘stalling tactic’ once proposed by Abbott’s government by pro-equality groups.
Regarding dissidence in the government, frontbencher Steve Ciobo told Sky News: ‘What I do know is that at the end of the process we’ll have a clear point of view and I think that any politician, any member of parliament would really have to think twice before they snub their nose at the view of the majority of Australians’