Marriage Plebiscite

The Senate will shortly have the opportunity to effectively decide whether Australians will have a full plebiscite or a postal plebiscite on the issue of marriage.

While my strong preference is for a full plebiscite including a compulsory attendance ballot, consistent with our election commitment, I would rather hear from the Australian people by way of a postal ballot than to have our election commitment repeatedly frustrated by the Senate.

I am very pleased that all Tasmanian Liberal Senators and Jacqui Lambie will support the plebiscite when it returns to the Senate and am disappointed that Labor and the Greens have expressed a mindedness not to support the legislation, despite previously supporting a plebiscite on this issue.

Throughout any campaign on this issue, I look forward to engaging with Australians and advocating why marriage should remain as it is and I am confident that the campaign will be respectful of all Australians.

There has been much speculation in the media on whether a plebiscite should be binding or not, much of that speculation has deliberately taken out of context comments I have previously made.

To be clear, it is impossible to determine whether a Parliamentarian should adhere to their electorate, their state or to the national vote and in those circumstances, all Parliamentarians should be given a degree of leeway to adhere to how they can best represent those who elected them. If electors feel that their representative has not represented their views well, they can then take action at the next election.

It is particularly disappointing that elements in the media who push this idea never demand that Labor, the Greens and others be bound to a ‘no’ vote.

For my part in any Parliamentary vote after a plebiscite, I will be guided by the electors of Tasmania who have put their faith in me to represent them. Regardless of the outcome of the plebiscite, I am absolutely confident that the view of the people will be reflected in the Parliament.

About Eric

Eric Abetz has been a Liberal Senator for Tasmania since 1994 and has served in a range of Leadership, Ministerial and Shadow Ministerial roles.

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