Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull today admitted the Australian people will not know the detail of any final legislation to change the Marriage Act before casting their votes in the plebiscite.
The Australian reports the Prime Minister foreshadowed a lengthy parliamentary debate that would involve numerous as-yet-unseen amendments. In a stunning admission today Prime Minister Turnbull said the government had no control over the legislative process in the Senate.
The Prime Minister said:
“Private members will get a bill to protect religious freedoms and there could be an amendment here and an amendment there, a debate about this and a debate about that... No doubt it will be amended and debated and we don’t have a majority in the Senate and in any event, it is a free vote.”
Coalition for Marriage spokesman Lyle Shelton said this was an extraordinary admission from the Prime Minister.
“The Prime Minister has confirmed the Australian people are being asked to sign a blank cheque,” said Mr Shelton.
“The Prime Minister has said he does not know the detail of the bill. He has said he does not control the legislative process. He has said that Australians will not know what protections the legislation will or will not contain.
“It’s regrettable that the dynamics in the Senate are such that members of the Government can’t even be relied on to produce a bill that protects parents’ rights, free speech and freedom of religion.
“Given the fact the Prime Minister couldn’t even convince the parliament to hold a plebiscite on marriage in the first place, how can the Australian people have confidence the parliament will ‘get it right’ on protections for parents, speech and faith?
“I say to all Australians – if you don’t know, vote ‘no’,” he concluded.