Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull has moved to end confusion about whether Liberal MPs will be bound by a plebiscite on same-sex marriage, announcing an extra plebiscite later this year to resolve the issue.
Mr Turnbull said the new plebiscite was a common sense solution to the problem. “There are those who believe a plebiscite should be binding. And clearly there are those who believe it should not. It is right and proper that important decisions such as these are put to the Australian people, rather than left in the hands of politicians,” he said.
But there was growing speculation that the new plebiscite – which will cost approximately $160 million to run – may itself be non-binding.
“I would need to determine whether the plebiscite really is an accurate reflection of the national view. I wouldn’t necessarily be bound by it,” Senator Eric Abetz said late this afternoon.
Mr Turnbull said he would consider the need for a third plebiscite to resolve the uncertain nature of the second plebiscite, but conceded it may not be popular. “Plebiscites are not for everyone,” he said.