Everybody with a modicum of common sense realises that this current opinion poll on the legalisation of same-sex marriage was initially designed as a way of delaying or hopefully preventing any vote in parliament on the subject. The ham-fisted nature of this statistically useless voluntary non-binding survey will turn out either a ‘yes’ or ‘no’ majority. The people who originally came up with the ‘idea’ of a plebiscite, such as Abbott and Abetz who, although spruiking all that ‘seeing what the people want’ and ‘it was an election promise’ garbage have not been known for keeping election promises, nor thinking about the people. Neither of them found the need to ask the people when, in 2004, the Marriage Act was changed to make same-sex marriage illegal.
There have been numerous properly conducted, statistically meaningful opinion polls on same-sex marriage that clearly demonstrate an almost 2 to 1 majority in favour of legalisation. However, because the aim of the current opinion poll is to prevent same-sex marriage, those opinion polls must be ignored.
If the ‘yes’ vote is overwhelming, then Turnbull wins and he may even get a boost in the polls because of it, and same-sex marriage will be legalised. It will also be interesting to see which of the religious nutters in the Liberal and National parties will vote against such a strong result. They will show themselves to be the real bigots, who believe that their religious belief must be inflicted on others, and that they have a right to discriminate against same-sex couples.
If the vote turns out to be a slender ‘yes’ majority, perhaps even more of the Coalition religious nutters will feel justified in voting against legalisation in what should be a free vote in parliament. It is doubtful if even these nutters will be enough to prevent legalisation. So, Turnbull will get a less than stunning win.
In either case of a large or small win for Turnbull, Abbott will feel incensed yet again and will continue to white-ant Turnbull at every opportunity, as the indignity of losing the same-sex marriage vote will be piled on the indignity of being supplanted by Turnbull as Prime Minister. In that case the Coalition will continue its paralysis in dealing with things like climate change.
If there is a small ‘no’ majority, Abbott and his sycophants will crow that enough of the people have said ‘no’, that we should not risk changing the law. In this case, for a free vote in parliament, Turnbull will have to argue for a free vote in the party room. This would be exceedingly difficult, as most would argue against it, because they will realise that this would make the result of the opinion poll meaningless. This may be the only time they intersect with the reality of the poll. If, as is most likely, there is no free vote in parliament, then Turnbull loses and he will appear even weaker and less consequential than currently. Abbott will continue his undermining, but this time mixed with an element of gloating. This will probably be the end of Turnbull’s political career.
If there is a large ‘no’ majority, which seems unlikely, Turnbull will receive a huge kick in the guts and likely could not remain as Prime Minister. Abbott will not replace him, as too many will remember how bad he was. Currently, there are very few if any viable options to take over. Indeed, some of those who have ambitions in this regard (e.g. Morrison, Dutton) would be so diabolical as simply to hasten the electoral demise of the Liberal Party. Others include Julie Bishop, who is of the wrong gender for a leader of the Liberal Party, while people like Birmingham and Frydenberg are a little too green.
Ironically, the only way the Liberal Party can survive, even in its currently parlous state, will be if same-sex marriage breezes through parliament. If it does, Turnbull wins, but Abbott’s undermining will intensify, so the Liberals lose. If it does barely get through, Turnbull is wounded and Abbott will continue undermining, so the Liberals lose. If it doesn’t get through, Turnbull loses, and is replaced by Dutton or Morrison, so the Liberals lose. In the long run, it looks like a win for the nation.