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In 2017, Australia finds itself in a very strange position on the issue of marriage equality.

With the Federal Government’s proposed plebiscite defeated in the senate last November, we now have a bizarre situation in which leaders of both major political parties want reform but are unable to deliver it. There’s a sense of frustration and fatigue in the electorate – where do we go from here?

At this Fifth Estate discussion, Sally Warhaft is joined by two speakers, both steeped in the marriage equality debate at federal level, and both with quite different takes on the issue: Liberal MP and former Human Rights Commissioner Tim Wilson, and Labor MP and Shadow Assistant Minister for equality, Terri Butler.

Is it possible that we will somehow break the gridlock this year? Is there a need, and an appetite, for further debate around this issue? Join us for a discussion of public sentiment versus political processes.

Sally Warhaft, Tim Wilson and Terri Butler

Sally Warhaft, Tim Wilson and Terri Butler


Portrait of Sally Warhaft

Sally Warhaft

Sally Warhaft is a Melbourne broadcaster, anthropologist and writer. She is the host of The Fifth Estate, the Wheeler Centre’s live series focusing on journalism, politics, media, and international relations, and The Leap Year, a Wheeler Centre podcast about Australians' lives in the fog of the Covid-19 pandemic. She is a former editor of the Monthly magazine and the author of the bestselling book Well May We Say: The Speeches that Made Australia.

Sally is a regular host and commentator on ABC radio and has a PhD in anthropology. She did her fieldwork in Mumbai, India, living by the seashore with the local fishing community.

Portrait of Terri Butler

Terri Butler

Terri Butler has been the Federal Labor Member for Griffith, in Queensland, since February 2014. Prior to being elected as the member for Griffith in 2014, Terri was a lawyer and a principal of the national law firm Maurice Blackburn, where she established and led the Queensland Employment and Industrial Law Section. While working as a lawyer, Terri was listed as one of Queensland’s top workplace relations lawyers in the Doyles Guide to the Legal Profession.

Terri has long been involved with organisations supporting those in the community.  She has served on leadership groups of Children By Choice and the YWCA.  Terri has also been involved in Labor’s policy development, having served two previous terms on Labor’s National Policy Committee, and a term on the new National Policy Forum.

Portrait of Tim Wilson

Tim Wilson

Tim Wilson is the Member for Goldstein. He was first elected in 2016 and achieved the strongest result in the Goldstein’s history for the Liberal Party. As a proud liberal he is committed to economic and social freedom, underpinned by the preservation of our culture and institutions.

He formerly served as Australia’s Human Rights Commissioner. In that role he worked with the government to reform laws to stop and prevent terrorism, improving economic opportunities for indigenous Australians as well as standing up for laws to protect free speech and stop marginalised communities from public harassment.

The Fifth Estate

The important stories of the day – off the front pages.

Sally Warhaft hosts a dizzying array of guests from the worlds of politics, culture, international relations and beyond, in a witty and revealing analysis of current affairs.