This is like watching a soap opera as the gov again publicly tears itself to bits over the LGBT, again. All because Western Australian MP Dean Smith will be introducing a private members bill on marriage equality when parliament resumes shortly.
As would be expected the RWNJ's have got off like headless chooks, feathers flying aplenty as they panic at the mere thought of gay marriage. The likes of Dutton and Abbott are permanently stuck on the Lieberals not straying from the plebiscite idea and have dragged it up again as the only way to "resolve" the issue. Although prime minister Howard had five conscience votes during his 11 year gov, the far right of this gov just can't actually get their head around having one for marriage equality.
Other gov members however, particularly Dean Smith, want a conscience vote on the issue. Rumour has it too from GetUp that some gov MP's are willing to cross the floor on the issue.
There will be much wringing of hands and gnashing of teeth when the Lieberals have their party room meeting over it.
While conservatives will want the plebiscite to play a central role in resolving the renewed debate triggered by the Smith bill, bringing back the plebiscite could prove a risky proposition on certain scenarios.
Last time the parliament considered the issue, Smith was the only Liberal MP who broke ranks and voted against the plebiscite proposal.
It is unclear whether Smith would be the only break away vote in the event the plebiscite returned for fresh parliamentary consideration. It is possible that some other Liberal supporters of marriage equality could join the public opposition to the proposal. Smith, and the longtime marriage equality campaigner Warren Entsch, have both publicly argued this week against the Dutton proposal – a postal plebiscite.
Entsch said at the start of the week: “The fact that a plebiscite of any form, whether it be postal or otherwise, is not binding I think really puts the final nail in the coffin in relation to any concept of a plebiscite and that’s not going to change with a ... postal plebiscite”.
Smith said plebiscites were “the radical way of resolving policy issues in the Australian democratic practice”.
He said he opposed them as a “traditional conservative”. The Guardian