The Sydney Morning Herald has revealed that WA Senator Dean Smith and NSW lower house MP Trent Zimmerman are working on this private bill that will be presented to parliament to legalise same-sex marriage through a conscience vote.
A ‘conscience vote’ means that politicians get to vote according to their own personal beliefs, rather than aligning themselves with the party’s policies. So MPs in the Liberal party can admit that they are chill with same-sex marriage, even though the Liberal party doesn’t publically agree with it.
This vote would replace the government’s current plan to hold a national plebiscite, where Australians would vote on whether they are for or against same-sex marriage being legalised, and then those votes would be presented to parliament for a final decision.
Which means even if all Aussies say ‘FUCK YEAH WE WANT TO LEGALISE SAME-SEX MARRIAGE’, the government can still say no.
But, if this new bill from Smith and Zimmerman wiggles its way through then it would only need 76 votes to reach an absolute majority and force the bill to be considered.
The Prime Minster, Malcolm Turnbull, actually supports same-sex marriage (along with a few other Liberal moderates), but he is wary about letting a parliamentary vote happen because it may get his conservative voters offside. So he has stayed firm in saying that his government’s plan of a non-binding plebiscite is sticking around, saying, “We have no plans to change it, full stop.”