Opposition leader Bill Shorten pledged that if elected Prime Minister the first piece of legislation he will introduce to parliament is an amendment to the Marriage Act.
In his final pre-election address at the National Press Club, he promised to change the definition of marriage in Australia to no longer be between ‘a man’ and ‘a women’, but between ‘two people’.
It was an unequivocal confirmation of Labor’s ongoing position to make same-sex marriage a reality within its first 100 days of government.
Unfortunately, the Coalition’s stance on the issue is nowhere near as clear cut.
Soon after becoming Prime Minister, Malcolm Turnbull confirmed he’d stick with Tony Abbott’s plan to hold a plebiscite on the issue, taking it to a public vote — that is, despite his previous calls for a free vote on the issue.
In October he told the parliament his government would “abide by the decision made by the Australian people” and anyone who said otherwise was “not living in the real world”.
Last week though, he conceded the members of his party wouldn’t be bound by the public’s wishes.
Confused? We don’t blame you.
So, here’s everything you need to know about marriage equality before you go to the polls on Saturday.
First things first, what’s the Marriage Act?
The Australian Marriage Act 1961 is a law made by the parliament which regulates the rules by which a marriage can be recognised in Australia.
At present, only unions between men and women can be recognised as marriages with all that that entails.
So, what would a plebiscite mean?
A plebiscite is a nationwide vote to gauge public feedback on a political proposal.
Aside from being incredibly time-consuming— not to mention setting taxpayers back a whopping $160 million — plebiscites are also non-binding.
Australian Marriage Equality asked voters what they’d rather spend the money on (post continues after video):