The government’s meeting with Labor to discuss its gay marriage plebiscite appears to have been over before it even started.
Both sides are accusing each other of refusing to compromise.
Senator Brandis met with Labor’s Shadow Attorney General Mark Dreyfus and Shadow Assistant Minister for Equality Terri Butler today (Monday) to discuss how Labor could be convinced to support the plebiscite enabling legislation in parliament.
However George Brandis says he was disappointed Labor was unwilling to compromise.
“I made it clear to Mr Dreyfus and to Ms Butler that the purpose of the meeting was to seek common ground and to discover from them what the Labor Party’s position was in relation to the plebiscite bill,” he said.
“That is what I sought when I looked Mr Dreyfus in the eye and I said to him, “What is your position, what will it take to get the Labor Party to agree to this plebiscite bill?”
“I can’t hide my disappointment every time there was refusal to state the Labor Party’s position.”
In a press conference after the meeting Senator Dreyfus said Brandis had been unwilling to compromise.
Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull has called on Labor to reveal its list of demands to support a plebiscite.
But Opposition Leader Bill Shorten says it’s up to the government to make a compromise offer.
It follows suggestions from Deputy Prime Minister Barnaby Joyce that his Nationals Party won’t support any compromise.