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If Bill Shorten is willing and desperate enough to compromise his integrity with scaremongering about the Coalition privatising Medicare, why does he not just go the whole hog and announce the Coalition intends to declare motherhood an evil state and abolish Anzac Day?

Robert Harcourt, Hahndorf, SA

Bill Shorten displays a true lack of financial acumen when he imagines that anybody would be interested in investing in Medicare. It loses $14 billion a year.

Malcolm McMurray, St Ives, NSW

When is Malcolm Turnbull going to stop faffing around and nail Bill Shorten with his union record? His royal commission performance and his announced intention to govern like a trade union leader make him a scary prospect for PM. It’s time to stop being the reasonable nice guy, Mr Turnbull.

Chris Lloyd-Bostock,
Connellys Marsh, TasThe ability of the Labor Party to argue a case in the face of overwhelming contrary logic is impressive, as is the seeming inability of the Coalition government to counter these arguments. A prime example is that of the gay marriage plebiscite.

A plebiscite is the epitome of democracy, and yet Labor is opposed. To prosecute this argument they have conjured up a ravening horde of psychopathic homophobes who threaten to spread hate and mayhem through the campaign. To avoid this, Labor proposes that marriage equality be imposed by parliament.

If these homophobic hordes actually exist, surely having a mob of suits in Canberra deciding the matter will send them properly apoplectic.

A yes result in the plebiscite would enable an end to the matter, but a legislated change to the Marriage Act without a clear mandate would ensure that the dispute would continue to fester. Imagine the Restore Marriage Party presenting at the next election. The alliances that could form under that banner don’t bear thinking about.

Richard McCure, Hobart, Tas

David Morrison observed that Labor is still ambivalent on same-sex marriage (Letters, 22/6). Penny Wong says that Bill Shorten, if elected as the next prime minister, would legislate to adopt marriage equality within 100 days. Such rhetoric is often more easily stated than achieved.

The question remains. Will conscience votes be allowed or must a party speak as a single voice? Does the political will exist to either confront or affront the citizenry when electoral survival is paramount? The High Court should grant relief to all who would argue the validity of the Marriage Act under the Constitution.

Mike Fogarty, Weston, ACT

Penny Wong and Bill Shorten are becoming like tinpot dictators in relation to the proposed vote to change the marriage laws. A solid core of Liberal and Labor voters, according to recent opinion polls, want a direct say if marriage between a man and a woman is to be changed. Why is Wong scared of a serious public debate followed by a plebiscite?

No doubt she believes that a small and aggressive gay lobby can intimidate and convince a small number of federal MPs, but may not be able to convince a larger constituency. When asked whether she’ll support a plebiscite vote should the Liberals win the election she refused to answer. We can take that as a no.

Coke Tomyn, Camberwell, Vic