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Bill Shorten Tells Labor To Block The Same-Sex Marriage Plebiscite

"Turnbull has no idea of the harm this could inflict on so many people and their families."

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Labor leader Bill Shorten will recommend the party blocks the government's same-sex marriage plebiscite, ensuring the legislation will die in the Senate.

Stefan Postles / Getty Images

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

"[Turnbull] is deliberately sabotaging the process to make it difficult for even the most ardent supporters of marriage equality to back it."

"It’s clear the extreme right wing of the Liberal party are setting marriage equality up to fail."

Shorten says he will spend the next few weeks consulting with mental health groups and people affected by the plebiscite debate "about the harm a plebiscite will cause."

"[Turnbull] has no idea of the harm this could inflict on so many people and their families."

Prime minister Malcolm Turnbull will introduce the government's same-sex marriage plebiscite legislation to parliament on Wednesday.

The non-binding 11 February plebiscite would ask all Australians: "Should the law be changed to allow same-sex couples to marry?"

Shorten will recommend to both shadow cabinet and Labor caucus not to support the government’s plebiscite, but this is no guarantee of what the party will decide to do.

The next scheduled party room meeting is not for four weeks on Tuesday 11 October, when parliament next sits. This means Labor won’t announce its formal position until after that meeting.

Labor insiders have told BuzzFeed News they expect a majority of the party room to vote with Shorten to block support of the plebiscite.

If Labor does not support the plebiscite, the legislation will fail in the Senate.

Plebiscite # in Senate: YES Lib/Nat 29 👔 1 Nation 4 🇦🇺 Day 1 ⛪️ Lambie 1 💁🏻 Leyonhjelm 1 🚬 NO Lib 1 👔 ALP 26 💃🏼 GR 9 🌿 NXT 3 ❌ Hinch 1 🔊

This is how the numbers will play out if Labor vote no, as expected.

Alice Workman is a political reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in Canberra.

Contact Alice Workman at

Lane Sainty is a reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in Sydney, Australia.

Contact Lane Sainty at

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