In August 2015, former Prime Minister Tony Abbott made plans of taking the same sex marriage issue to the people. Plans for a plebiscite to settle the matter was encouraged. However, MPs are in controversy over whether a plebiscite is the best way to allow gay marriage.
Warren Entsch, Liberal MP and an advocate for gay marriage, said that the Coalition might discuss the issue again. As mentioned on Sydney Morning Herald, Entsch said that comments made by senators Eric Abetz and Cory Bernardi might prompt MPs to reconsider. Both Abetz and Bernardi suggested that they might not vote for same sex marriage despite the plebiscite.
“There is no point in having a plebiscite if parliament is not going to respect what the people have to say,” Senator Arthur Sinodinos said.
Moreover, the site mentioned that if Australia votes on legalising same sex marriage and a large sum of money has been spent on getting this answer from the people, it would be both undemocratic and a poor financial move.
The plebiscite would cost an estimated amount of $160 million. According to another report on the site, Australian Marriage Equality commissioned polls to determine how parliament would vote if the decision was kept in house. It was found out that more than 60 per cent described it as “poor” or “very poor value for money.” The Australian Christian Lobby believes $160 million is “reasonable and necessary price”.
Entsch is pushing for a vote to be made in parliament. Australian marriage equality spokesperson Rodney Croome mentioned that the plebiscite should be revisited because a lot has changed. He claimed that, “a vote in Parliament would cost nothing.”
Meanwhile, Labor leader Bill Shorten argued that “marriage equality should just happen.” Likewise, Senator Penny Wong wrote in The Monthly magazine that the “think of the children” argument is the most hurtful.
“It posits that gay and lesbian relationships harm children, that gay and lesbian parents are bad parents,” Wong said.