PRIME Minister Malcolm Turnbull has presented the legislation to parliament which would allow a public vote to go ahead on February 11 next year asking the Australian public if they approve of the legalisation of same-sex marriage.

When introducing the bill to parliament today he said it was “parliament committed to marriage”.

“We are committed to people supporting each other and sticking together… to enable their dreams,” he said.

“And that is why I support same-sex marriage… that is where I stand and that is where Lucy (Turnbull) stands and when the plebiscite is held we will be voting yes.”

Turnbull said the main argument against a plebiscite was that people were worried about the hurtful debate that might arise from the campaigning in the lead-up to the vote.

“That insults the Australian people, that disrespects the Australian people. If ever there is an issue to be put forward to a plebiscite, it’s this one and should be because it’s a very straight forward question,” he said.

“I ask the leader of the opposition to support this plebiscite… I ask Labor to respect the people they represent… to respect their ability to have a discussion about this important matter and resolve it and resolve it in a manner that is fair, that is democratic and will at the end of the day whoever wins be regarded as a just determination of this important issue.”

However, Opposition Leader Bill Shorten is expected to recommend to the Labor shadow cabinet and caucus that it block the plebiscite-enabling legislation.

“The fact the Liberals announced public funding to give a platform to bigotry shows no interest from the government to work with Labor on this,” he said.

“He is deliberately sabotaging the process to make it difficult for even the most ardent supporters of marriage equality to back it.

“History will record Malcolm Turnbull as a fraud on marriage equality, the man who had the opportunity to make it happen but cowered in the face of Tony Abbott, Kevin Andrews and Eric Abetz, the Prime Minister who broke the nation’s heart.

“I am gravely concerned about the plebiscite and over the coming days and weeks, we will be sitting down with people affected, families and mental health experts about the harm a plebiscite will cause. He has no idea of the harm this could inflict on so many people and their families.”

The PM also confirmed $170 million dollars in funding for the plebiscite, $160 million which will go to holding the vote and $7.5 million each for the ‘yes’ and ‘no’ campaigners.

The ballot for the vote was revealed and confirmed the question will be  with people having to write yes or no beside the question.

The ballot paper for next year's plebiscite.

The ballot paper for next year’s plebiscite.

 

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