Labor and the Greens are in the thick of an all-out brawl after the Greens voted against bringing forward their own marriage equality bill for debate in the senate today.
The Coalition, Labor and the Greens have been enthusiastically partaking (read: ripping each other to shreds) in an ongoing stoush over senate voting reforms in recent months.
You can find out more here, but what you need to know is that the Coalition and Greens have formed an ~unlikely partnership~ over the reforms. The reforms are opposed by Labor and most crossbench senators (who were elected largely due to the foibles of the current system). Each side says their position is more democratic.
OK, sure. So what the hell does senate voting reform have to do with marriage equality?
Well, the government has made passing the senate voting reforms a "priority" for the last three days of sitting before the budget on May 10. As part of the deal, the Greens voted with the government today to block debate on various issues brought up by the crossbenchers.
Independent Glenn Lazarus and the Motoring Enthusiast Party's Ricky Muir attempted to bring forward debates on the building industry watchdog and coal seam gas, but both were shut down by the Coalition/Greens combo.
And then, Liberal Democrat senator David Leyonhjelm tried to wedge the Greens on marriage by bringing forward the Greens' OWN BILL on marriage. Spicy!
The Greens opted to vote down the motion for debate, slamming the move as politically opportunistic. Penny Wong then slammed right back, saying the Greens were too focused on their "dirty deal" with the government and compared the party to the likes of Cory Bernardi for voting down the debate on marriage. David Leyonhjelm also slammed the Greens, saying the bill could have passed the senate if they had allowed the debate. There was a lot of slamming.
And then, Greens senator Robert Simms put out a presser saying the Greens would bring their own bill forward for debate this Thursday instead, during time allocated for private bills.
Labor agreed to support this debate – but not without a whole lot more sledging back and forth across the chamber. Mate!
And in the wake of all this, Labor is going absolutely wild at the Greens for supposedly reneging on their "Every vote, every MP, every time" marriage equality promise, by voting down the motion to bring the bill forward for debate.
The Greens are going equally wild back, saying they technically didn't vote against marriage equality, they just voted against bringing it forward for a debate.
There's also a fair bit of "How dare you lecture us on marriage" coming from the Greens, given Labor only adopted same-sex marriage into their party platform in 2011.
How, exactly, any of this affects the voting public is deeply unclear. But Labor and the Greens have truly Pulled. Off. The. Gloves. And people watching the stoush are having a great time.
Cory Bernardi jumped on in.
And anti-marriage equality group Marriage Alliance issued the Greens with a shady "thank you".
Basically, the senate is a mess today.
Lane Sainty is a reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in Sydney, Australia.
Contact Lane Sainty at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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