What This Week Means For Marriage Equality

By Samuel Leighton-Dore

Tomorrow is shaping up to be a super nerve-wracking day for a whole bunch of people, not least a taller-by-the-day Bill Shorten and those invested in the campaign for marriage equality.

It’s down to the bloody wire.

There’s a bee’s dick in it.

Literally anything is still possible.

At this stage, it’s looking increasingly likely that a hung parliament could lead to another election, which would be akin to bookies fave Cosima De Vito pulling out of Australian Idol at the final three; leaving Nollsy and Guy Sebastian standing awkwardly on stage, poised to fight it out in another round of public voting.

Awkies.
Awkies.

You see, even though a minority win is still totally possible for both Labor and Liberal, word has it that neither party is super keen to form a minority government. It would mean wooing over a bunch of independents and making loads of dirty promises and compromises. Essentially, it would involve the TBA PM bending over and tying his own hands behind his back on a number of key issues.

Basically, things could get pretty messy.

However, should a minority government occur, one of the issues up for negotiation could very well be marriage equality. Considering the pro-equality stance of Nick Xenephon, Andrew Wilkie and Cath McGowan – all of whom will be sought after by Billy or Malco, and all of whom support a free vote instead of a plebiscite – this could work to our advantage in either of the two hypothetical minority government scenarios.

As one source hinted to me this morning, where could these independents potentially spend a cool $160 million saved by ditching the plebiscite? Re-vote aside, there will be deals to be made, and losing the pleb frees up a whole bunch of cash-money to make them.

That being said, failing to form a minority government and going back to the polls COULD end up being a good thing for a number of reasons. Firstly, it’s another excuse to gauge ourselves on democracy sausage rolls, but also Labor’s higher second preference tally could potentially mean a re-vote tips in their favour; bringing Shorten’s “marriage equality within 100 days” back into the realm of possibility.

Thickening the plot further, it’s impossible to ignore the whispers emerging from the butt-hurt Liberal right over a possible Abbott resurrection. Now THAT would shake things up.

Sure, none of us deserve to be subjected to that smug mug peaking through our television screens while standing in front of a thousand Aussie flags. But it’s likely that an Abbott re-boot would only isolate independents further, decreasing the chance of forming a minority Abbott government and sending us back to the polling booths for a spectacular Bill/Tony showdown.

So while nothing is certain today, one thing is fast becoming clear: the marriage equality movement has graduated from being a political pawn-piece to a full-blown queen.

While the fight for a Labor victory and subsequent free vote might seem like a stretch, the past week as already defied the odds – and it looks like we’re now wading into uncharted waters. Regardless, a plebiscite is starting to look less likely than ever before. And while that could mean a three-year delay, it’s better than the alternative.

So yeah, you’d better believe that a few sleeping pills are being popped in Point Piper this evening.

Tomorrow’s going to be a cracker.

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