POLITICS

What Happens Now For Same-Sex Marriage After The Plebiscite Was Killed Off?

The Senate blocked the plebiscite. Does Turnbull have a Plan B?

08/11/2016 10:09 AM AEDT | Updated 08/11/2016 12:45 PM AEDT
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Fairfax
All eyes are on the PM.

CANBERRA -- So what now for same sex marriage? As expected, the Turnbull Government's plebiscite was killed off in the Senate, with enabling legislation going down 33 votes to 29 in a late Monday night vote.


Despite Malcolm Turnbull being renowned for having pre-Prime Ministerial support for a free marriage equality vote in parliament, as Liberal leader, it's been all or nothing with the Tony Abbott-proposed plebiscite.

But with the plebiscite dead, it is now time to discuss the marriage equality "Plan B" ... if there is one.

Turnbull can allow for a free vote in parliament, but he is keeping his cards close to his chest.

Some government types say marriage equality is now off the table for the rest of this term of parliament, others are holding out hope that the plebiscite can be revived. Labor and the Greens are holding out for a free vote in parliament before Christmas.

This is what MPs and Senators are saying in light of the Senate blocking the enabling legislation:

Deputy Prime Minister Barnaby Joyce: "We move onto other issues now."

Greens Senator Nick McKim: "No, Barnaby, no. We have a chance now for the Prime Minister to give a free vote and Happy Christmas we could have marriage equality this year."

Opposition Leader Bill Shorten: "The Senate voted down Govt's $200 million divisive plebiscite. It's time for Turnbull to grow a spine and allow a free vote."

Attorney-General George Brandis: "The cause of marriage equality will be delayed in this country for years.

"If you are concerned that this debate will cause harm to gay people and their families, why do you want to prolong it indefinitely? If that is your concern, why would you not bring it to a close?"

Special Minister of State Scott Ryan: "If anyone wants to come to me, any of the crossbenchers, and they want to talk about a plebiscite despite the disappointment of last night I am happy to talk. The government is happy to talk."

Government frontbencher Matt Canavan: "Without change in the views of Senators, it is very unlikely we will see a change in the Marriage Act this term of parliament."

Liberal Senator Anne Ruston: "Now we are just getting on with the business that we promised the electorate when we went to the election." Pressed by HuffPost Australia whether marriage equality was off the table for this term of parliament: "I understand that is the case."

The Greens Janet Rice: "You think you have seen a powerful campaign so far, we have not seen anything yet. There is such passion in the community to achieve this."

Labor frontbencher Brendan O'Connor: "We haven't given up in pressing upon the parliament to have a vote. I think it is incumbent on the parliament to do its job."

Labor Senator Katy Gallagher: "We should see same sex marriage by the end of the year. There's absolutely no reason why a free vote on a marriage equality bill, and there are plenty of them around, drafted, ready to go, can't be put through both houses of parliament by the end of the year."

Asked by HuffPost Australia how that would happen, Gallagher said, "The Prime Minister needs to take control."

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