Malcolm Turnbull Backflip On Marriage Equality Catches GetUp! With Their Pants Down


GetUp! has found itself on the receiving end of a social media backlash after creating an event that appeared to ‘thank’ new Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull for his stance on marriage equality, despite the fact he has fallen into line with the position held by Tony Abbott before his removal from the job.

The event, co-hosted with Australian Marriage Equality and DIY Rainbow, was initially described as a family-friendly celebration to take place in Sydney’s Taylor Square.

“Our new PM supports marriage equality! Gee, thanks Mr Turnbull,” the event description initially said.

“Tony Abbott did everything he could to get marriage equality off the political agenda. But now we have Prime Minister Turnbull in charge, let’s boldly and brightly thank him in advance for allowing a Liberal free vote on the bill, and for ending marriage discrimination in Australia!

“Because after all, if we’ve already said thank you, it would be very rude to not follow through, right Mr Turnbull?”

Unfortunately for GetUp! the new Prime Minister proved undeterred by the prospect of rudeness, and just hours later publicly confirmed he would hold the line on the Coalition’s delaying tactics on marriage equality.

“The Coalition, our government, has decided that the resolution of this matter will be determined by a vote of the people, all the people, via a plebiscite, to be held after the next election,” Turnbull told Parliament on Tuesday.

Image: Facebook / GetUp!

With that juxtaposition evident, followers took to GetUp’s event page to vent their frustration.

“Thanks in advance… for putting your personal ambitions ahead of equal rights,” one commenter said.

Others expressed disappointment with GetUp!

“Look, there’s tongue in cheek and then there’s missing the point so hard you look like you’re celebrating the fact that one gross conservative homophobic PM has been replaced by another gross conservative homophobic PM with a snappier dress sense,” wrote Natalie Acreman.

“There’s nothing to celebrate, and everything to fight for. Wtf Get UP, wtf.”

The event has now been updated in light of Turnbull’s comments since taking office.

“It was a cheeky tactic to encourage Mr Turnbull to stay true to his public support of marriage equality by demonstrating vibrant community support for him doing so,” GetUp! campaigner Sally Rugg told New Matilda.

“In light of Mr Turnbull’s indication he’ll follow Tony Abbott’s lead and delay the reform, the event’s message has now been changed.

“Some people liked the tongue-in-cheek idea, others didn’t. That happens.

“We will continue campaigning for marriage equality to happen as soon as possible and we appreciate the feedback we get from our members and the community on how best to go about it.”

Elsewhere, the group has attacked Turnbull for failing to chart a different course to Abbott on marriage equality and climate action.

Day one: who is Malcolm Turnbull answering to? It seems he’s already undermined his previous support of marriage…

Posted by GetUp! on Tuesday, 15 September 2015

Ivan Hinton-Teoh, the Deputy Director of Australian Marriage Equality, said there was now enormous pressure on the Prime Minister not to delay reform on the issue.

“Australia finally enjoys across the board pro-marriage equality leadership similar to that which achieved reform in New Zealand. This, in itself, is something to celebrate,” he said.

The will take place on Wednesday next week, at 5:30pm.

Max Chalmers is a former New Matilda journalist and editorial staff member. His main areas of interest are asylum seekers, higher education and politics.