Bill Shorten flips on gay marriage plebiscite
The Australian – 29 June 2016
Dennis Shanahan (Political Editor, Canberra)
Bill Shorten told religious leaders and Christian voters in the final days of the 2013 election campaign that he was “completely relaxed about having some form of plebiscite” on same-sex marriage.
In video footage obtained by The Australian, the Opposition Leader outlined a position that is in stark contrast to his claims yesterday that a plebiscite would be a taxpayer-funded platform to give a “green light” to homophobia and hate.
Mr Shorten told the Australian Christian Lobby forum in his electorate that he preferred “the Australian people make their view known” to the 150 MPs in federal parliament. “Personally speaking, I’m completely relaxed about having some form of plebiscite,’’ he said. “I’d be wary of trying to use a referendum and a constitutional mechanism to start tampering with the Marriage Act.
“But in terms of a plebiscite — I would rather the people of Australia could make their view clear on this than leaving this issue to 150 people.”
He told the Christian forum, which was webcast, he supported same-sex marriage and did not support a referendum but he did not think parliament would act.
Mr Shorten said “gay marriage” was not the reason he ran for parliament and that “I would rather that I didn’t have to address the question”. He said he preferred a vote in parliament but he could not see it voting for change for a long time. “I believe that you should allow the parliament, if that’s what has to happen, to make a determination on this question,” he said.
He then explained that he was relaxed about a plebiscite.
Mr Shorten, the then education minister in the Rudd government, made his comments in his Melbourne seat of Maribyrnong at the Essendon Baptist church in the final week of the 2013 election campaign. Last night he told The Australian he had changed his mind on a same-sex marriage plebiscite since the last election.
In recent days, as he faces increasing pressure on economic plans and budget costings, Mr Shorten has turned opposition to the Coalition plan for a plebiscite on same-sex marriage into a key priority along with his Medicare scare campaign.
Mr Shorten used his final election address to the National Press Club yesterday to pledge Labor’s first act would be to introduce a same-sex marriage bill into parliament and accused Malcolm Turnbull of settling for a “second-best option” of a plebiscite because of a “grubby deal with the right wing of the Liberal Party”. He repeated his attack that the proposal for a same-sex marriage plebiscite would be a “taxpayer-funded platform for homophobia” and refused to say if Labor in opposition would pass the proposal through the Senate.
He also used the plebiscite commitment — made by Tony Abbott as prime minister and adopted by Mr Turnbull — to accuse Mr Turnbull of weakness and allowing a “green light” for homophobia and hate. “Why on earth can’t the Liberal Party just let their politicians do their day job rather than (spending) $160 million (on a plebiscite) to make up for Mr Turnbull’s deal to become the leader of the Liberal Party,” he said. “Mr Turnbull knows that he’s come up with the second-best option. He knows if he had his way, if he was genuinely leading the Liberal Party, if he was actually the man in charge rather than simply the guy who is the front for the Liberal Party, then he would go for a vote in parliament.”
Mr Shorten said last night he had changed his mind because of the experience overseas, particularly in Ireland, where “hateful” campaigns had been run.
“Over the last few years, I’ve seen harmful advertising campaigns run off the back of plebiscites and referendums overseas — I can’t ignore that,” he said.
“The Irish experience convinced me that a plebiscite is the wrong way to go over here. The debate has moved on since 2013 — there’s no doubt whatsoever Australians now overwhelmingly support marriage equality, we don’t need a plebiscite to tell us that. As leader, I’ve learned how significant this issue is for so many Australians. Malcolm Turnbull thinks so too, he’s said as much. It’s just he’s not prepared to do anything about it,” he said.
At the ALP national conference last year the left wing of the Labor Party agreed to change the policy on offshore processing of asylum-seekers and consider boat turnbacks in return for right-wing support for same-sex marriage.
Mr Shorten pledged yesterday: “The first piece of legislation I introduce into the 45th parliament will be a bill to amend the Marriage Act. I promise Australians that if and when we’re elected, within the first 100 days we will legislate for marriage equality, it will be a conscience vote and it will happen. No $160m plebiscite, no hurtful, hateful government-sponsored advertising campaign for us.”
Mr Shorten said there would be “civil war” in the Liberal Party over the plebiscite if the Coalition were re-elected and Mr Turnbull could not convince his cabinet ministers to abide by the plebiscite decision. Scott Morrison, who is opposed to same-sex marriage said he supported a plebiscite and would accept the national result.
Federal election 2016: the hypocrisy of Bill Shorten
The Australian – 29 June 2016
Dennis Shanahan (Political Editor, Canberra)
When Bill Shorten was standing at the last election and talking to religious leaders and Christian voters in his electorate he told them he was relaxed about a plebiscite on same-sex marriage and thought it was good the people could express a view.
While he made clear he supported same-sex marriage, he also told the audience he didn’t have a problem with their favoured position.
But that has changed and changed dramatically. Opposition to a plebiscite is now a Labor priority and grounds for a character attack on Malcolm Turnbull for doing grubby deals with the Liberal right-wing and not being true to himself.
Two weeks ago as he launched Labor’s final campaign themes the Labor leader demonstrated that dramatic change of his mind and with the view that the idea was dangerous, hurtful and a taxpayer-funded platform for homophobia.
Shorten told The Australian last night he had indeed changed his mind because the Irish experience showed him a national vote gave “a platform to these extreme views (and) is incredibly hurtful for so many people”.
Yet the brutal language and bullying of those supporting a plebiscite as hateful and homophobic seems to suggest the aggression is coming from Labor. What’s more, Shorten accuses the Prime Minister of doing grubby deals with the Right over the plebiscite yet he has done a grubby deal himself with his left wing, trading support for same-sex marriage in return for turning a blind eye to turning back illegal boat arrivals.
Shorten is entitled to change his mind but he’s not entitled to use that change of mind to start hysterically accusing people he once agreed with of homophobia and hypocritically start talking about grubby deals.
Shorten should get a job as a test subject at NASA where scientists could study how the human body behaves in a moral vacuum.
ME is a pivotal societal decision not a decision to be taken by a bunch of politicians. Lets be clear the only reason why the Labor Party want a parliamentary vote on this issue is because they feel they have a much better chance of getting it passed than having a referendum where the chances are against them. For Shorten and his merry men;) to dictate their view that a parliamentary vote is the right way to decide this issue is down right condescending. I will not be voting for this unethical politicking.
Shorten’s current position re there being no need for a plebicite — is nothing more than protecting Labor’s left flank from the Greens. And all the commentators proposing otherwise are just making fiction.
It truly isn’t rocket science.
“These people” Jane, are the trade union thugs who are running rampant and threatening decent people and their actions are totally supported by their Labor mates led by Bill Shorten and his front bench mob of ex Union hacks.
How could you have written this absolute rubbish again. Another journalist losing credibility.
So it’s ok for Turnbull to be completely opposite to what he said 6 months before he became PM but Shorten who actually did not quite say it as you implied and has not done a complete backflip.
This story is a factually incorrect account and it’s just smear.
Shame on you. Poor journalism at best. You should be reported.
@Jane So what is factually incorrect?
Bill Shorten should be committed to the irrelevance society, he has lost the plot. What can you expect when he is taking his prompts from the most dreadful clan of would be humans who are hell bent of dictating how this country should be run. Our children and grand children should not be subjected to these people ever be in control of the public purse
Actually, voters have already made up their minds on gay marriage and we don’t care much for the climate change scare either. What we do care about is Muslim immigration, boats, the debacle of the Human Rights Commission and Safe Schools. Anyone dealing with these issues would win the election!
@Mike OMG how does anyone get to adult hood and still be this bigoted. Obviously a charmed life and a closeted one.
To call those for the plebiscite and for traditional marriage as homophobic is ridiculous. There is language taken up by Labor that shows a desperate marketing ploy. To say and attempt to ‘label’ those for the plebiscite as homophobic is totally stepping out of line. This is untrue. Our country needs to allow for disagreement without using aggressive language towards those who want a plebiscite on this matter.
@Caroline Well said Caroline, if only the screaming leftist banshees were as polite
Why would you expect anything else from Bill? Seriously,
Read Shorten has changed from RC to C of E. Cannot be much of either as Bible is clear on homosexuality
My worry is not Bill Shorten, my worry is the media treating gay marriage as the most important issue in this election. In fact Fairfax hardly talks about climate change anymore, its all gay marriage.
The EU progressive elites have accused 52% of Britons of not having the wit to make rational decisions on their own; out of denial of the reality. In the same vein, Australian Labor and the Greens unfeelingly use fear of a SSM plebiscite to divert our attention, not out of fear of failure, but out of insincerity. They are not worried we can’t be trusted to vote the right way, which I’m sure we will, they just need something to take the focus away from Labor’s scandalous lack of fiscal competence and their coalition partners the Greens economy destroying policies. So they attack the plebiscite process to try and deny us democracy and call us names whilst they are about it.
You do not have to tell us – we know – Shorten is a weak “leader” with no morals – similar to Malcolm Turnbull
More and more Australians are seeing through Bill Shorten. Labor ignored the majority of members who wanted Albo as leader and Shorten’s ambition won the day. The polite people of this nation are not interested in Bill Shorten’s ambitions and whatever it takes attitude. These good people are hopefully about to express their annoyance with the campaign this ambitious little man has run.
What happens if we rotten (-according to the fashionably pro same sex fashionable bullies) citizens dare to disobey orders and vote no in the plebiscite? Far from us being the hateful homophobic right wing religious fundamentalist bigoted bullies it is clear enough that the hate speech and shrill bullying is coming from the very people who are hell bent on changing the definition of marriage and totally incapable of having a civilised discussion without abuse and shrill bigotry and sneers. With a few exceptions decent ordinary people aren’t particularly homophobic and think it perfectly reasonable for equal rights of inheritance jobs etc and have no objections to civil unions: many heterosexual couples have civil ceremonies but draw the line at using the term marriage. However if the vote was to go in the affirmative that would settle the matter. However Australians like the English don’t take kindly to being bullied, or ordered around by politicians. If the vote were no, it would be a brave government who defied the voters, despite it being non binding and neither lot is exactly brave about anything much and this tiresome issue which is not of urgent national importance is hardly one either Shorten or Turnbull will go to the barricades for.
Well said,they are grubs really,just grubs
Bill Shorten is heading towards being a metaphor for a lack of any moral compass. He appears ready to say anything at all in the hope enough people will not bother about truth or lies, or lying. That used to be the signal of the end of someone’s reputation and of any career in public life. Not Bill. He could not care a jot what history will say about him because if he fails to win the election then he will be history. Let’s hope for Australia’s sake that it will be the latter.
Complete lack of integrity demonstrated by lies, backflips and reversals. His spending figures ignore key elements; he continues to lie about Medicare, he has mislead about a same sex marriage vote; he was misleading about the independent truckie fiasco; he cannot be trusted on boat tow backs or deals with the greens. He took an underhand payment for election expenses and only declared it when he was days away from being questioned in the Trade Union Royal Commission. He sold workers entitlements down the drain as long as the employers paid their union membership deals so he could use the dodgy membership numbers to gain more power in the ALP. He orchestrated the sacking of Rudd to advance himself in Julia Gillard’s cabinet then orchestrated her demise to bring back Rudd to save a few seats for when he became leader.
Is there anything this guy wont do to become prime minister and who could trust him?
But one thing is certain he will do, the CFMEU ‘s bidding.
BS what perfect initials for this man because what comes from his mouth is BS.
Its perhaps ironic that in pushing his same-sex-marriage wheelbarrow, Shorten adopts the language of bigotry in an attempt to demonstrate his sincerity
Shorten has a long track record of mishandling the truth. Every move he has made, has always been about promoting himself. Now he is casting about for anything he thinks will win him the PM role. This includes back tracking on everything he said for years to raising least important issues to get away from his non-existant economic management, blatant lies, deception, back of the truck bullying and unwillingness to call the CFMEU for what they are. Just refer to the TURC to see where CFMEU stand.
@Glenton Not to forget what TURC commissioner Heydon said about him – an unreliable witness. What does that say about someone pushing to become our PM. Not for me BS and I’m sure not for many others!!
Bill Shorten is a walking moral and ethical vacuum; not exactly prime ministerial material. ALU
It’s like this according to Bill. “You people do not have the integrity, honesty, intelligence or motivation to discuss the issue of SSM in an adult fashion and to vote in a plebiscite. The danger in letting you vote is that you might arrive at the wrong decision. Oh, by the way vote for my Party on Saturday. You know we will do a terrific job as government. But let’s have no more nonsense of people wanting to think for themselves!”
@Maic Great point – pity no-one with a microphone has picked it up.
Were Bill Shorten the Captain of a plane it would crash.
Not the steady hand of a professional;
just the panicky hand of a desperate man.
The Short One is totally devoid of any moral compass and ethics. It would appear that Union membership requires the surgical removal of such attributes prior to enrolment.
I have spent some hours listening to UK politicians speaking on the Brexit, the pro’s, the cons. Such eloquence, such great command of the English language. Logical and thoughtful arguments delivered by both sides and expressed with true conviction. It makes me cringe listening to the gutter politics delivered by the likes of Shorten and his cronies.
BS must sniff the media breeze each morning to see how to swing for a few votes. To hell with basic human integrity people can believe in.
BS is BS. He is an elitist, educated in one of the best schools in Melbourne, supported by someone to do a degree, his only job seems to have been with the unions (if you call that real work) and we all know how they obtain their bonuses, and married into Labor “Royalty”, the daughter of a former Govenor General who seems to use the same dressmaker as her mother. I am sick of his whining and preaching from his pedestal – he is out of touch with the working man.
You forgot about his first marriage and free trips to Easter Island in Richard Pratt’s private jet. Very working class.
@Don Bill did have an 18 month stint practicing Law for Maurice Blackburn Law firm, who, surprise surprise, work for the Unions. And Bill has the audacity to suggest the Libs take donations from the “big end of town” but neglects to accept there is no conflict of interest when the Labor Party accept millions and millions of $s from the Unions. BS is full of it!