PRIME Minister Malcolm Turnbull has sold out LGBTI Australians, according to deputy opposition leader Tanya Plibersek.
She took the swipe at Mr Turnbull while introducing Labor’s second bill for marriage equality in parliament this morning.
“For kids who’ve got two mums or two dads, to hear for months, or possibly even years, that there is something not right about their families, I just think is unforgiveable and unacceptable,” she said.
“We don’t need a plebiscite. The Parliament can, and should, get marriage equality done.”
Ms Plibersek told Parliament she had waited more than a year for cross-party support for her Marriage Equality Bill, because she believed the issue should be bipartisan.
“When, last year, it became apparent that waiting was in vain – Labor’s leader, Bill Shorten, introduced a private members bill to the same effect and I seconded it,” she said.
“The introduction of that bill finally did produce some action from the other side. When we heard that Coalition MPs didn’t feel that they could support a bill introduced by the Leader of the Opposition, we withdrew our bill to allow another to be put forward sponsored by backbenchers from all parties.
“Because neither the Leader of the Opposition nor I cared whose name was on the bill: only that it would pass. And for a while, with support from all sides of politics, it looked like it just might.”
— Tanya Plibersek (@tanya_plibersek) May 1, 2016
Ms Plibersek went on to accuse former Prime Minister Tony Abbott of ambushing members of his party to withdraw their support for a free vote on marriage equality.
“Instead he proposed a national plebiscite – expensive, divisive, and meaningless – but a way of delaying equality for a bit longer,” she said.
“Members of his own party spoke publicly against this ‘captain’s call’. Including the Member for Wentworth (Malcolm Turnbull).”
She said when Turnbull became Prime Minister, many hoped things would change and “that we might be able to finally leave behind discrimination against people because of who they love”.
“But this Prime Minister has been an enormous disappointment,” Ms Plibersek said.
“He sold out LGBTI Australians – traded away their right to equality – to become Prime Minister. He signed up to the plebiscite delaying tactic to secure the support of the Liberal Party’s right wing”.
@TurnbullMalcolm so where’s the marriage equality at
— Jazz (@jazzzzhands) May 2, 2016
Ms Plibersek said the Labor Party was re-introducing a bill for marriage equality as LGBTI Australians have waited too long to marry their partners.
“Australians of all ages who’ve been told that their love isn’t equal, that their family isn’t real, that their relationship is bad for their children or somehow bad for society, have waited for too long,” she said.
Labor’s Deputy Leader said with the impending budget and parliament being dissolved for a double-dissolution election, it was unlikely the Marriage Equality Bill would be voted on this week.
“But our push for equality is not going away. Think of this bill as a marker – more than that, think of it as a promise,” Ms Plibersek said.
“A promise that Labor will introduce legislation for marriage equality in the first 100 days of a Shorten Labor Government. Let’s get this done – it’s time.”