POLITICS

Coalition Can Compromise On Same-Sex Marriage Plebiscite: George Brandis

"The theme of this parliament is compromise."

18/09/2016 10:54 AM AEST | Updated 18/09/2016 1:43 PM AEST
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Brandis said he was “not prepared to flag any particular things” to win Labor's support.

The attorney general George Brandis has indicated that the Government is willing to negotiate with Labor to pass the same-sex marriage plebiscite bill.

In an appearance on Sky News, Brandis praised the Government for a "very good fortnight" and said that "the theme of this parliament has to be compromise".

"We have to deal with the parliament that the people gave us. And that of course means a parliament where the government only have 30 of the 76 seats in the Senate.

"So just as we've seen successful outcomes in relation to the Omnibus saving bill in the past week, then of course we are prepared to talk to the Opposition and deal with them in good faith if the Opposition is prepared to talk to us and deal with us in good faith."

However, the attorney general stressed that a vote against the plebiscite is a vote against marriage equality.

"The point I make to Mr Shorten is this: the plebiscite may not be his preferred option, it wasn't my preferred option. But it is where the government landed and it is the position we took to the election and that position was endorsed by the Australian public," Brandis said.

"So in these circumstances, it is up to the Labor party now to enable this plebiscite to happen because if they don't they will be saying 'no' to marriage equality."

Labor is yet to decide on a formal position on the plebiscite bill, but Bill Shorten is expected to direct the party to vote against it in a Labor caucus meeting in three weeks.

Marriage equality advocates have praised Labor's move to block the plebiscite and openly-gay WA Liberal Senator Dean Smith has said he could not support the bill.

Entering parliament last week, the plebiscite would put the question, "Should the law be changed to allow same sex couples to marry?" to voters on February 11, and allocate an extra $15 million to fund both "yes" and "no" steering and advertising campaigns.

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