With Labor set to reject the same-sex marriage plebiscite, and the Coalition set to remove the possibility of a vote if they do; what have we learnt?
So it goes. The Opposition are all but certain to not support the same-sex marriage plebiscite, following the lead of the Greens. The problem is that while the plebiscite had many faults (it was too expensive, illogical and unfair; the government didn’t have to actually move on the results; from a legislative standpoint, ain’t nobody seemingly has the time for such a vote), from a larger perspective, at least it was something.
Now with the erasure of the plebiscite from the bounded ledger on the PM’s desk, all that we have to grasp at is uncertainty – the victim of this sordid governmental bargaining brew-a-ha-ha: lasting change. The Coalition was bound to their election promise, which, ironically, was an unbinding vote, and yes, they put it back until February, but at least February exists in the calendar. We know where that lies. When the plebiscite dies and falls to the floor, winter is upon us.
I realise that the plebiscite was not an ideal choice but after the vote, we’d sure as shit have dusted off the pitchforks to again spill the political blood of those we voted for, to make it relevant again. After all, we’re really good at that. So, looking ahead, from the lessons of the past, we’d have forced a change of government through unpopularity, and the new government would obviously use the plebiscite as a means to ensure their name on the door. Cynical? Perhaps.
With even Labor frontbencher Ed Husic claiming that it should just be down to a simple vote in parliament, the obvious question is, ostensibly, “why don’t they just change the law?”. But that sentence is nothing more than speculation. It doesn’t exist on any table anywhere, its just a yelled statement, a jilted “wtf” shrug of the shoulders. If it comes to pass that the plebiscite is unsupported, a larger can of worms will be loosened – or that is to say, delayed. Libs have already threatened that the vote is it, and if fails to be entertained, marriage equality may not be on the cards again until the next election, with MP Russell Broadbent confirming that there will be no parliamentary vote on the issue. At least the plebiscite existed. We knew it’s colour, even if we didn’t care for its tone.
So, strange days indeed, with those who seek change, blocking the means to change, whilst fighting those who offer change, who are also keen to delay change ad infinitum. The situation probably best summed up by George Christensen, Liberal backbencher, who supported the plebiscite (but not the changes) saying, “It’s a policy that before any change to the Marriage Act, you have to have a plebiscite, so if Labor and the Greens don’t want a plebiscite, that’s fine, we’ll just have no change to the Marriage Act in this parliament.” With inequality on the books of both sides, and the worst of fears essentially realised all in the name of political henpecking, all I suppose we can do is shake the head, dip to cynicism and reconcile that for a fleeting moment, we almost had something.