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The Number Of People Who Don't Want A Marriage Plebiscite Is Growing

The number of people who think a plebiscite is plebi-shite is growing by the day.

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1. Malcolm Turnbull

Martin Ollman / Getty Images

Prime minister Turnbull makes no dice about the fact he would have preferred a free vote in the parliament rather than a plebiscite on marriage. But, as he stressed on 3AW last week, the Coalition party room under Tony Abbott made a decision, and as the PM, he is sticking to it.

"So that's our position. It's perfectly democratic. There will be a plebiscite. That's our policy." A ringing endorsement from the PM.

3. Eric Abetz

Graham Denholm / Getty Images

Well, Abetz didn't precisely say he doesn't want a plebiscite – but he did say that he'll be free to ignore the result, and implied the poll may not be trustworthy.

"I would need to determine whether [the plebiscite] really is an accurate reflection [of the national view], whether it is all above board or whether the question is stacked, whether all sides received public funding," he told Guardian Australia.

"Every member of parliament will make up his or her mind after the plebiscite is held."

4. Cory Bernardi

A long-time opponent of same-sex marriage, Bernardi reckons a plebiscite is a "glorified opinion poll" and that no government should be bound by it.

That said, he does see one useful aspect – a plebiscite would (maybe?) put an end to the years of lobbying from same-sex marriage advocates, which Bernardi likened to "Chinese water torture".


5. Malcolm Turnbull's electorate

Lisa Maree Williams / Getty Images

To make matters worse for Turnbull, a recent poll showed his own electorate – the affluent eastern Sydney seat of Wentworth – opposed a plebiscite. But that's just inner-city latte-sipping Liberal elites, right? Well...

6. These three Nationals electorates


More polling commissioned by Australian Marriage Equality showed three Nationals seats say "No" to a plebiscite. The three seats are New England (held by Barnaby Joyce), Capricornia (held by Michelle Landry) and Gippsland (held by Darren Chester).

7. The Age newspaper


"Dump the plebiscite option and bring on a same-sex marriage bill in the autumn session. Do it via a conscience vote. That would save the nation $160 million in plebiscite costs. It would also get this protracted matter resolved swiftly," read an editorial in The Age last week.

8. This 11-year-old girl

Network 10

Isabella Mills appeared on The Project last week to ask Turnbull what the hell is up with the plebiscite.

“I am struggling to see a point in the plebiscite that you are holding in 2017,” she said. “It is a complete waste of time, money, and will most certainly fracture some of the positive views that people have about you."

Her strongly-worded letter to the PM went viral.


9. Australian Marriage Equality


After trying to call Abbott's bluff by jumping on board with the plebiscite last year, lobby group Australian Marriage Equality has now very much left the bandwagon.

Clarifying that their brief support was more to ensure they would have a say in the question and process, rather than genuinely thinking a plebiscite was a good idea, AME is hammering away at the increasing doubt surrounding a popular vote.

10. The Greens

Like AME, the Greens had a brief period of embracing the plebiscite – with the justification that if it was going to happen, same-sex marriage advocates may as well be part of the process. Now they're back to sledging it with with full force. Here's some media releases from the past week.


11. Brendan

A plebiscite on a plebiscite? It's a crazy idea, but

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

Contact Lane Sainty at

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