19.1 C
Byron Shire
April 18, 2021

Abbott firms on gay marriage plebiscite

Latest News

Head-on crash car traveling in wrong direction

Police say that two men are in hospital after an accident on the M1 overnight, when emergency services responded to reports of a crash involving two cars near Clothiers Creek

Other News

Electricity ‘fun facts’

Anonymous, Ballina I’m surprised that a part of David Lowe’s online article of March 15 slipped under the fact-check radar (‘Tamara Smith...

The ghost in the archives #3: Sexism, legal discrimination and ‘the game of bastadry’

The ghost in the archives #3 – In which a former Echo drudge dives into the crypt and comes up covered in dusty memories.

Hippie fools

Edward Kent, Suffolk Park So, have the ‘hippie’ hipsters of Byron Bay figured out how the new global establishment party at...

Help from Red Cross for flood-affected communities in NSW

With disasters coming thick and fast as the climate emergency worsens, Australian Red Cross this morning launched financial help for flood-affected communities in NSW.

A man dead after boat capsizes on Ballina Bar

Police have confirmed that a man has died after a boat capsized at Ballina earlier today.

What’s the real cost of ‘affordable housing’? 

With ‘affordable housing’ being the new catchcry in parts of the Northern Rivers, The Echo did a ring-around to find the cheapest rental living space in Byron Bay’s caravan parks and camping grounds.

Prime Minister Tony Abbott says the coalition is open to a cultural shift on same-sex marriage but any decision needs to be made by the people and not parliament.

As marriage equality supporters come to terms with a coalition party room decision to deny its MPs a free vote on the issue, Mr Abbott firmed up a commitment to hold a referendum or plebiscite on the issue after the next election.

“This is an issue which is so personal … why not let the people rather than the parliament decide this?” he told reporters in Canberra on Wednesday.

“That’s the democratic and the fair thing to do.”
Mr Abbott cautioned that same-sex marriage had “only very recently come into our intellectual and cultural parameters” as opposed to the “time immemorial” position that marriage was one between a man and a woman.

“Obviously the fact that we are disposed to put it to the people in the next term of parliament shows that we are open to change,” he said.

“But please let’s not underestimate the magnitude of this as a cultural shift.”

Treasurer Joe Hockey ruled out any plebiscite or referendum being held in conjunction with the next federal election.

A referendum could remove the commonwealth’s power over marriage, he told ABC radio.

Labor accused Mr Abbott of using the prospect of a plebiscite as another delaying tactic.

It amounted to parliament refusing to do its job, opposition frontbencher Penny Wong said.

“The motivation of those arguing for a plebiscite is clear because they are the same people who have done everything in their power, played every trick in the book to avoid a free vote in this parliament,” the openly-gay senator told ABC radio.

She is also concerned a plebiscite will lead to an even more ugly, hurtful and divisive public debate.

Opposition Leader Bill Shorten warned a plebiscite, which isn’t binding on a government, would costs tens of millions of dollars.

“Frankly, I am surprised at why some in the government are so obsessed about stopping marriage equality,” he told the Seven Network.

Deputy Nationals leader Barnaby Joyce told reporters the move to allow a free vote would have been defeated even if the Liberals voted on their own.

“It’s important this boil be lanced,” he said of a plebiscite.
Mr Abbott conceded government backbenchers were free to support a private bill that will be introduced to parliament by Liberal MP Warren Entsch next week.

But any minister who wanted to support same-sex marriage would have to resign, he said.

Deputy Labor leader Tanya Plibersek said if all MPs had a free vote, marriage equality would be law by Christmas.


Support The Echo

Keeping the community together and the community voice loud and clear is what The Echo is about. More than ever we need your help to keep this voice alive and thriving in the community.

Like all businesses we are struggling to keep food on the table of all our local and hard working journalists, artists, sales, delivery and drudges who keep the news coming out to you both in the newspaper and online. If you can spare a few dollars a week – or maybe more – we would appreciate all the support you are able to give to keep the voice of independent, local journalism alive.

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

Housing crisis and Council

Avital Sheffer, Mullumbimby Population growth in this Shire is inevitable like it or not. Those who are being pushed out by the unfolding housing tragedy are...

Flawed plan

Kai Beijerbacht, Mullumbimby For those of you who haven’t been living under a rock, I’m sure you are aware of the ever-increasing housing shortage crisis in...

Affordable myth

Patricia Warren, Brunswick Heads There is a ‘myth of affordable housing’ in Byron Shire. Well may councillors lament the lack of ‘affordable housing’ in Byron Shire but...

Midwife quits

Deb Walsh, Fernleigh It’s become untenable for me to continue working in hospitals. I have quit. I will be deregistered soon by my own choice. Working with...