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Public opinion turns against plebiscite


The Turnbull government is sticking to its plan for a plebiscite on same-sex marriage despite a new opinion poll showing stronger support among Australians for a parliamentary vote.

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A Newspoll, published in The Australian on Wednesday, found 48 per cent of more than 1600 respondents backed politicians deciding the issue against 39 per cent who favour a national vote and 13 per cent undecided.

Cabinet minister Josh Frydenberg told ABC radio the government had an election mandate for the plebiscite, arguing it was the fastest way to legalise same-sex marriage.

“We went to the election, everybody knew what our policy was and we won the election and we’re now seeking to implement that policy.”

Opposition Leader Bill Shorten had to respect the government’s wishes to implement its policy, Frydenberg said.

“It’s up to the Labor Party to put aside politics and to recognise that they lost the last election.”

Treasurer Scott Morrison said voters had rejected Shorten’s pitch for government, despite his “confected victory lap” after the July election.

If Labor wanted concessions it should say what they were.

“Front up, tell us what changes they think are necessary to support the bill, otherwise it’s just a stunt,” Morrison told Sky News.

Shadow attorney-general Mark Dreyfus said the poll showed Australians wanted parliament to do the job it’s elected to do.

“Australians’ public opinion has now firmly turned against what was always a strange idea,” he told ABC Radio.


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