Speaking with Laurie Oakes on Sunday night’s 60 Minutes, Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull blamed Bill Shorten for Australia's failure to achieve marriage equality and asserted that the defeated plebiscite is still the only way to resolve the issue. “We took the plebiscite position to the election. That is our policy and we are calling on Bill Shorten to rethink his position and if he supports the plebiscite then it will pass through the Senate and it will be held. Every Australian will have a say,” he stated.
When Oakes asked Turnbull if the group of Liberal backbenchers rumoured to be pushing for a parliamentary free vote were wasting their time, Turnbull responded by saying “I’ve got no doubt that all of these matters will be discussed in the party room. But I’m the Prime Minister; the Government’s position is that which we took to the election, which is that this issue should be determined by a vote of every Australian in a plebiscite.” As Turnbull continues to ignore the feelings of the LGBTI community, the advice of mental health professionals and new Reachtel polling which shows public support for a conscience vote, the Equality Campaign has launched its largest ever national marriage equality campaign. Placing real LGBTIQ people back in the centre of the conversation, the campaign consists of television ads, billboards, digital advertising and public events across the country.
Billboards at Canberra airport will greet politicians returning to parliament this week. “The Equality Campaign features real people across Australia who make this country better. Our soldiers, doctors, nurses, lifesavers and fire fighters, people who Australians are proud of but at the same time cannot marry the person they love in the country they serve,” said campaign Executive Director, Tiernan Brady. “Across Australia, every day there are people who go to work and make Australian a better place, a safe place, a healthier place. These are everyday Australian heroes who do their job and are waiting for politicians to do theirs.” Two thirds of Australians and the majority of politicians now support marriage equality and it is expected that a free parliamentary vote would easily pass. “It is only the world of party politics that is preventing the wishes of the Australian people from taking place,” said Brady. The new equality campaign calls for supporters across Australia to contact their MP’s and push for a free parliamentary vote. Head to the Equality Campaign website to fax your MP, sign the petition, share your reasons for supporting marriage equality or donate to help keep the ads on TV. You will also find the resources you need to start your own campaign.