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Australia’s same sex marriage plebiscite may not happen after all

Australia’s same sex marriage plebiscite may not happen after all

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

It’s believed Australia will have a hung parliament following Saturday’s election. This may be bad news for the long awaited plebiscite vote on gay marriage.

The Labor party, which acts as opposition to the current Liberal/National Coalition government, may not vote in favor of a plebiscite.

A senior Australian Labor source told Fairfax Media: ‘We were never going to support it.’

Michael Koziol writes in the Sydney Morning Herald: ‘Already a massively divisive issue within the Coalition, the plebiscite would need to navigate a precarious lower house and unwieldy Senate crossbench.’

However the result may only mean the end of the possibility of a plebiscite, rather than marriage equality altogether.

Rodney Croome, director of Australian Marriage Equality, said a majority of lower house MPs actually support marriage equality.

‘It’s clear the Coalition doesn’t have a mandate to proceed with the plebiscite.

‘[But] there’s an increased majority of MPs in favor of marriage equality. If there was a free vote, there’s no doubt that the legislation would pass.

‘In short, a big winner out of the election is marriage equality, a big loser is the plan for a plebiscite.’

The current prime minister Malcolm Turnbull committed to a popular vote on same sex marriage ‘at the end of the year’ in May.

‘We will hold it as soon as possible after the election,’ he said. Civil unions are the only current way to legally recognize a partnership in Australia.

The results of the election will not be announced until Tuesday, it’s believed. At this time, 80% of the votes have been counted.

The official figures released from the Australian Electoral Commission tally says Labor currently has 71 seats, while the ruling Liberal-National coalition has 67 seats.

The leader of the Labor Bill Shorten said the Coalition government had ‘lost their mandate’ to lead.

This election has seen an unprecedented interest in independents. Almost a quarter of voters (23.3%) voted for one of the smaller parties.