Subject/s: Marriage equality, GST disparity


KIERAN GILBERT: With me now is Labor front bencher Tim Hammond. First of all on the issue of same sex marriage, it looks as though those in the Government still want to see a direct say for the people and it looks like a postal plebiscite is a possibility. If that were to happen would Labor make their case and look to bring on a parliamentary vote by the end of the year?


SHADOW MINISTER FOR CONSUMER AFFAIRS TIM HAMMOND: Great to be here with this morning Kieran from Perth in WA. I can’t emphasise enough Labor’s position in relation to achieving marriage equality. It is very clear and it is the least harmful, the least expensive and the quickest way to get this done is with a free vote in the Parliament which can be done as early as next week. What’s promising about that is we are seeing signs in a few of the Government backbench ranks that they are coming to the same view. We’ve demonstrated time and time again a willingness to work with anyone and any party to try and get this done. Let’s just cut through all of this, achieve marriage equality next week, and move on. That can be achieved and that is the quickest way through.


GILBERT: It’s quick but it’s also very damaging for Turnbull and the Government in terms of its cohesion. I ask you again, if they do pursue a postal plebiscite which doesn’t need legislative support, is that the time then for marriage quality advocates, for gay marriage advocates and Labor to get on board and make the case so you can win the postal plebiscite?

HAMMOND: It takes us no further down the track Kieran in terms of the fundamental problems with a plebiscite approach and that is the risk of it being incredibly harmful is extraordinarily high, it is still expensive and it still takes too long.


GILBERT: If it is going to happen anyway surely you just back it?


HAMMOND: None of these things get fundamentally addressed in a circumstance where the community actually expects us to act. Act in the Parliament and act as early as next week.


GILBERT: If it is going to happen anyway surely marriage equality advocates and Labor back it, make their case, get it done and have a vote by the end of the year as you hope to see.


HAMMOND: In terms of a vote at the end of the year, what’s wrong with a vote next week? This is where we are seeing some of the Government backbenchers coming to the realisation that we can get this done and move forward without a risk to harm, without added expense and without unnecessary delay.


GILBERT: Malcolm Turnbull yesterday in WA was making the point that the Labor party are the ones who are standing between your State and receiving a fair share of the GST.


HAMMOND:  It’s just terrific isn’t it? And we walk around wondering why there is a trust deficit in the community in relation to our elected leaders.  The message could not be clearer to Malcolm Turnbull. He is the Prime Minister and he needs to start acting like one especially in relation to the GST. He is the one with the power to get this changed and get it fixed and quite frankly it is just not good enough for him to swan in over here on only his second trip to WA in eight or nine months to suggest the answer to fixing the GST lies somewhere else.

The answer to getting the GST disparity fixed is right in front of Malcolm Turnbull’s face and he and Scott Morrison both have the power to get this done and all they are doing here is shooting the blame home to anyone else except for themselves.

The community is just not buying what it is that Malcolm Turnbull is trying to sell over here.


GILBERT: Shadow Minister for Consumer Affairs Tim Hammond; thanks for your time.