MONDAY, 7 AUGUST 2017
SUBJECTS: Marriage equality; Liberal Party division.
BILL SHORTEN, LEADER OF THE OPPOSITION: For goodness sake, the Government should just get on and put a vote on marriage equality to the Parliament. From what Senator Dean Smith has put forward, I think the Labor Party would read his compromise with very careful and respectful consideration. I think we should just get on with it anyway, that's what Australians think.
I mean, we've got energy prices that are out of control, the banks are a law unto themselves, first home buyers are locked out of the housing market and people’s wages are flat-lining in terms of growth. And now all that the Liberals want to do is turn themselves inside out over whether or not they should send a letter to 16 million Australians asking do 16 million Australians care if someone else gets married. It's time to get on with it and we can get onto the big issues – energy prices, housing affordability, flatlining wages, that's what really matters.
JOURNALIST: Would Labor back the rebels if they bring this to a vote on the floor of Parliament?
SHORTEN: Labor backs marriage equality. We've got to study the legislation or the proposed Bill that has been offered –
JOURNALIST: Your instinct?
SHORTEN: We're going to have a very open mind towards it. We just think we should get on with it. If there's a compromise, well, people just want us to get on with it. As I said to you earlier, energy prices out of control, the banks are running riot, first home buyers locked out of the housing market and wages growth is very, very poor indeed. So let's just get on with this issue and then let's get on with all the issues which Australia really wants us to.
I mean, it is a bit absurd that Mr Turnbull and the Liberals are having major wars, do we vote in Parliament or do we send a letter to 16 million Australians just checking to see what they think about whether or not other people should get married? I think the answer is pretty straight forward.