Being a spineless gutless wonder who cannot decide a single thing at all has finally shafted himself. Labor played a well thought out strategy and Turnbull has finally shot himself in the foot. It was only a matter of time I guess. Put the whole gay marriage thing to a public vote and it will go down like a bag of poo. You dont pander to minorities – ever.
The biggest danger to Malcolm Turnbull’s leadership is not legislation to approve same-sex marriage.
It’s the drive for an expensive, non-binding, voluntary plebiscite of dubious credibility which would never be agreed to by this Parliament.
In the bizarre jumble of priorities being prosecuted by some sections of the Coalition, the battle for the possibly useless national ballot is occupying scarce energy just as Labor ramps up a strong appeal to its constituency and beyond.
The debate now distracting the Liberal Party is not the proposal for a parliamentary vote on the Marriage Act. It is the insistence on something else by a small group of no-holds-barred, right-wing agitators who are determined to undermine the Prime Minister.
There are two factors identified by this disruption.
One is the disrupters recognise that a bill to allow same-sex marriage would pass if it was put to Parliament, and there would not be protests in the street. Voters just want it settled.
So their only option is legislative procrastination; serial delaying tactics.
They are being confronted by a growing and articulate group of MPs, some of them conservatives, who want the same-sex marriage matter decided by Parliament and they are being outargued. So the agitators are switching the debate topic to the plebiscite.
The agitators have sent the message that the proud Liberal tradition of a right to cross the floor is suspended on the same-sex plebiscite matter.
And if MPs — apparently gay MPs in particular — speak out in favour of Marriage Act changes or for a parliamentary vote, they could lose preselection as candidates.
Tony Abbott was allowed to give a closed-door address to a Liberal branch in which he unabashedly attacked his own side’s May Budget, while others publicly commenting in favour of same-sex marriage are somehow party traitors.
Again, the target is Malcolm Turnbull.
Mr Turnbull today said a plebiscite remained Coalition policy but declined to say whether legislation for it would be reintroduced.
Mr Turnbull said just one in 100 voters raised SSM with him and those in Western Australia, where he was visiting, wanted to know about national security and economic growth.
“Our policy is very clear. We are committed that every Australian will have a vote and the question you should be asking…is of (Labor Leader) Bill Shorten, and say to him, has he gone back on his commitment that every Australian should have a vote,” he told reporters in Perth.
“In our party back benchers have always had the right to cross the floor,” he said on Monday.
“In the Labor Party you get expelled for doing that, but it has always been a fundamental principle in the Liberal Party and indeed the National Party.”
Once a Coalition boast, now fighting words.
They are claiming this remains binding election policy, although other parts of the election manifesto rejected by Parliament have been reshaped.
Second, this group is using the blunt instrument of the same-sex marriage plebiscite debate to wound and even remove Malcolm Turnbull as leader, and consequently heighten the risk of the Coalition losing the next election.
And through their usual media outlets they are making this known.
“It is chaos and mutiny in Canberra, let me assure you. I have spoken to Senior Cabinet Ministers who tell me Turnbull is gone,” tweeted broadcaster Alan Jones today.
Labor has vigorously demonstrated that divided parties don’t survive in government.
We are two years out from a scheduled election. Change the prime ministership and it will come sooner.
The no-holds-barred tag is well earned. According to some reports today the party rule book is being rewritten.