Government announces date for same-sex marriage vote
REVELLERS recovering from the Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras awoke yesterday to news the government had promised a plebiscite on gay marriage by the year's end.
The festival's kaleidoscopic parade drew 12,500 marchers across 178 floats and more than 300,000 onlookers lining the street.
Malcolm Turnbull became the first prime minister to visit the event, telling reporters he and his wife Lucy had always attended.
"I think it's a wonderful event in the life of Sydney, and I'm delighted to be here," he said.
Should there be a plebiscite on marriage equality?
This poll ended on 14 March 2016.
No! We already know most Australians support it and, besides, it's the right thing to do. Just get on with it!
No! Same sex marriage is wrong and that's all there is too it.
Yes! On this and many other issues as well. Decisions about the Australian way of life should be made by the people, not politicians.
This is not a scientific poll. The results reflect only the opinions of those who chose to participate.
Opposition Leader Bill Shorten led the Rainbow Labor float, pledging to introduce marriage equality within 100 days if Labor won the next election.
"It's a political statement that people should be treated equally in this country, and free of discrimination," he said.
Attorney-General George Brandis announced Sunday the Turnbull Government would hold a plebiscite on gay marriage by the end of the year, if re-elected. It was predicted to cost $160 million.
"I've said in the party room when this matter was discussed last August that it ought to be a conscience matter and I haven't changed my mind," Mr Brandis told Sky News.
Australian Councill of Social Service chief executive officer Dr Cassandra Goldie warned much still needed to be done to achieve true equality.
"Despite the wonderful progress we've made in terms of acceptance, and reforms in areas such as social security, tax and superannuation - the job is still far from done," she said.
"As long as our diverse community continues to experience higher rates of suicide, elevated rates of mental health issues and poorer health outcomes, we will be prevented from reaching our full potential as individuals and as a society."
Police made six arrests for offences including assault and drug possession and were investigating two reports of indecent assaults against women.