On the eve of the Labor vote which will determine whether the same sex marriage plebiscite goes ahead, Four Corners investigates the politics at work behind the debate.
“Now is that time. It may not come again if this opportunity is missed.” - Senior Liberal
When the Abbott-led Coalition Government emerged from a marathon party room meeting last year to announce there would be a public vote on the legalisation of same sex marriage, it sparked a passionate debate. Some were suspicious.
“It was dreamed up to slow down the move to marriage equality.” - Labor Shadow Minister
Since then, politicians of every political stripe have been deliberating over the legalisation of same sex marriage and the means by which that decision should be made. Four Corners has been charting the strategy employed by each side.
“We’re trying to raise as much money as we can. This is a big fight.” - Activist
Our team has been given behind the scenes access to many of the key players in this debate as they make their case.
“We’ve met quite a few members in the last couple of days... and we can definitely detect a change of the tide.” - Activist
Four Corners talks to them about the tactics they are employing:
“It was, I suppose a little bit provocative, ‘You don’t mess with marriage.’ But that was the title that was chosen.” - Church leader
And asks how much of the discussion is about conviction and how much is about the art of politics.
“Malcolm Turnbull introducing a bill on his one-year anniversary, a bill that is Tony Abbott’s policy, that he doesn’t believe in. That says everything.” - Labor Shadow Minister
For Better or Worse, reported by Quentin McDermott and presented by Sarah Ferguson, goes to air on Monday 10th October at 8.30pm on ABC & iview. It is replayed on Tuesday 11th October at 10.00am and Wednesday 12th at 11pm. It can also be seen on ABC News 24 on Saturday at 8.00pm AEDT, ABC iview and at abc.net.au/4corners.