Delay on Marriage Equality puts Coalition Government at risk

Over a quarter of Coalition voters (1.1 million voters) say they will consider voting for a new Government that commits to a marriage equality free vote, if marriage equality isn’t dealt with in this term. That’s the finding of the latest national marriage equality poll by Galaxy Research, which also found continued high support for a free vote and plummeting support for a plebiscite, including among Coalition voters.

The poll results indicate that marriage equality will be a major issue at the next election that could cost the Turnbull Government office if it doesn’t allow a free vote beforehand. The poll was commissioned by Parents and Friends of Lesbians and Gays.

“This poll shows Australians want action now on marriage equality and the Turnbull Government will lose government if it continues to delay on an issue that people just wish was over and dealt with,” said National spokesperson, Shelley Argent. “Mr Turnbull doesn’t seem to understand voters are tired of the political games relating to marriage equality.”

“Our sons and daughters deserve better than the endless delays and indifference we are seeing at the moment and it seems from this poll that most Australians agree.”

The poll showed 40% of Australians will be more likely to vote for a Government that commits to a free vote should the current Government fail to make such a commitment, including 26% of Coalition voters. 73% of respondents want a free vote now, including 67% of Coalition voters, with only 27% support for a plebiscite.

The poll found the main reasons for opposing a plebiscite are the cost, the delay, the fact it is not binding and the division it will cause. 60% of voters believe the delay entailed by having a plebiscite at the next election would be “unreasonable, including 50% of Coalition voters.

When given the choice of a free vote now, a plebiscite at the election or a voluntary postal vote as proposed by Immigration Minister, Peter Dutton, 74% prefer a vote now compared at only 13% and 14% respectively for the two latter options.

“If the Government doesn’t allow a free vote very soon it will be out on its ear at the next election,” said Just.equal spokesperson and long-time marriage equality advocate, Rodney Croome. “The continued high support for a free vote and the overwhelming opposition to a plebiscite are all the mandates this Government needs to get on with it.”

“I call on marriage equality supporters within the Coalition to push for a free vote or cross the floor, if they are to avoid a backlash that could cost them their seats.”