Government minister Peter Dutton’s electorate supports a free parliamentary vote on marriage equality, according to a new poll released by activist group GetUp.
Dutton supports holding a voluntary postal vote on the issue to keep the government’s election promise to hold a national plebiscite.
“A postal plebiscite delivers the same policy intent as a plebiscite proper,” he said last weekend.
“I think that is a much cleaner process than people running off to support private member’s motions or a Labor stunt within the House of Representatives.”
But the ReachTEL poll of 708 residents in Dutton’s electorate of Dickson found 68% support for a free vote on marriage equality in the parliament.
In response to the question ‘Do you believe the government should allow a free vote for marriage equality in Parliament and resolve the issue?’ half of respondents over 65 supported the notion, while over 70% of 18–50 year olds wanted a free vote held.
GetUp’s Campaign Director Sally Rugg says Peter Dutton’s electorate have sent a clear message.
“They want marriage equality, and they want it achieved in parliament without fuss and fluster,” Rugg said.
“Moderates within the Liberal party have plans to push for marriage equality as soon as parliament returns in August. Is Peter Dutton genuinely considering holding a postal opinion poll to undermine a sensible push for marriage equality from within his own party?
“Every person deserves the right to marry the person they love. Every parent and grandparent deserves the right to see their child find happiness in marriage. Every child deserves the right to have their families seen as equal by the law.”
The postal vote proposal has drawn criticism from LGBTI campaigners and MPs across politics, with Liberal MP and marriage equality advocate Warren Entsch previously criticising the vote for being non-binding.
Liberal Senator Dean Smith, who is currently drafting a marriage equality bill, told ABC Radio on Tuesday that previous Australian plebiscites had been acrimonious and divisive.
“I think this is an important step because it’s a demonstration by Peter Dutton that there is a will on the part of the government to bring this matter to a close,” Senator Smith said.
“[But] postal plebiscites, national plebiscites are corrosive to our parliamentary democracy,” he said.
This Saturday, GetUp and Equal Love Brisbane will host a marriage equality rally and march from from 12pm at Queens Gardens in the CBD.