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Tuesday, 2 February 2016
Page: 34

Ms CHESTERS (Bendigo) (13:51): We have a Prime Minister who says one thing and does another. Let us just take the issue of marriage equality. When he was the opposition leader, he was all for it. He advocated for it. In fact, he said that there should be a free vote on it. When he was the communications minister, he advocated for marriage equality, given the demographics of his electorate. Now that he is the Prime Minister, he is saying another thing. He says that we should let the people vote. There are calls from the other side saying we should let the people vote. What a sham that is, when their own members, their own conservative members, are saying they will ignore the result of a plebiscite. People in the other place are standing up and saying, 'It does not matter what the people say. We are still going to vote with our consciences.'

It is time that this Prime Minister did what he said he would do: let there be a conscience vote on marriage equality. The Prime Minister should show some leadership in the parliament and in the community, as opposed to trying to save his own job in the Liberal Party caucus room.

The people of central Victoria are very clear on marriage equality. They have spoken out a number of times about how they support marriage equality by taking out full-page ads in our local paper. Yet we have a senator in the other place saying that it does not matter what the local people say and it does not matter what happens in the Prime Minister's plebiscite, because she is still going to vote against it. It is time this Prime Minister stood up and stuck to his word. Stop breaking the hearts of all those progressive Liberals.