Member for Lyne Dr David Gillespie has lashed Labor’s blocking of the gay marriage plebiscite, calling the move “typical Labor”.
Labor agreed on Tuesday to block the proposal, with Opposition Leader Bill Shorten saying the plebiscite would be expensive, non-binding and would subject gay and lesbian people to a hateful campaign by opponents.
Dr Gillespie said the move would bring the gay marriage debate to a halt.
“We had an election where the policy was quite clear,” Dr Gillespie said.
“The plebiscite would let everyone have their say.
With Labor blocking (the plebiscite) they aren't helping progress the issue at all.Member for Lyne, Dr David Gillespie
“With Labor blocking it they aren’t helping progress the issue at all.”
Dr Gillespie said that he believed his own personal views reflected that of his electorate, given his success at the past three Federal elections.
“My position is the belief in the traditional definition of marriage is a union of a man and a woman,” Dr Gillespie said.
“My personal opinion is defined by thousands of years of society, it (marriage) is not something that is arbitrary.”
When asked if the estimated $160 million that would have been spent on a plebiscite could be better used elsewhere, Dr Gillespie said the cost reflected the exercise of letting “everyone have their say”.
“What price can you put on democracy? What price can you put on people having a say?” he said.
“People want a say in this.”
Mr Shorten has said that Labor would continue to push for a free vote on the issue for Federal MPs, saying that “Labor wants to achieve marriage equality in the fastest, cheapest, least harmful way possible”.
"The national mood is for marriage equality,” Mr Shorten said.
“We will get this parliamentary vote and we will have marriage equality and we will keep working at it."
There have only been three plebiscites in Australian history, with the last held in 1977 in regards to a national song.
Even if a plebiscite was held and the majority of Australians voted in favour of gay marriage, it would not necessarily impact on existing laws.
Given that a plebiscite is not legally binding, MPs would still be free to vote how they wish on the issue.