Published: Wed, August 09, 2017
Worldwide | By Sean Reid

PM outlines $122m gay marriage postal vote

PM outlines $122m gay marriage postal vote

But the Senate would not allow the so-called plebiscite, which would have cost 160 million Australian dollars ($127 million), and the result could have been ignored by lawmakers when deciding how to vote on gay marriage legislation in Parliament.

"Clearly our preference is to give effect to the commitment we made at the last election to its fullest extent possible, which is why we'll be asking the Senate to support the compulsory attendance plebiscite", Cormann said.

Terri Butler, one of the opposition Labor Party's key advocates on same-sex marriage, said it was clear that a majority of the members of Parliament supported legalization and would vote yes if given the chance.

But if a majority of Australians voted yes the government would facilitate private legislation to change the Marriage Act before the end of the year. "Turnbull's leadership would become untenable and he'd no longer be prime minister", Broad added.

"If electors feel that their representative has not represented their views well, they can then take action at the next election".

The plebiscite has been criticized for being costly - it would likely require an estimated $160 million (in USA currency) of taxpayer funds.

Opposition Leader Bill Shorten said Labor would not support the plebiscite. "However, we will continue to campaign for marriage equality. I wish they'd put the same effort into electricity prices, I wish they'd put the same effort into sorting the banks out". Both the plebiscite and the postal vote would not be binding on members of the Australian parliament.

Gay marriage campaigner Anna Brown said she had legal advice that the government could not conduct a postal plebiscite without Senate approval.

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"Get. It. Done. Australia is a joke right now".

Entsch told the ABC on Monday night he was happy to go through the process of seeing the original plebiscite proposal resubmitted to the Senate, but he predicted the crossbench would not budge.

However Nick Xenophon and others aren't budging.

Late past year, the upper house Senate rejected a government proposal on the matter, with opponents saying they believed it was best dealt with by a free vote in parliament. I want to get an outcome.

The Nationals have been staunch supporters of the plebiscite, with MP Andrew Broad warning the coalition could split if the policy was dumped.
They will join talks on the mechanics of a potential postal vote in Canberra on Tuesday. You heard me say again and again that every Australian will have a say on this issue", Turnbull said.

"A postal vote doesn't guarantee that".

The prime minister pushed back against Abbott's intervention, saying the government did plenty and stood for plenty. Most likely on Friday and the government will push for the plebiscite to happen on November 25, 2017.

However, a spokeswoman for Acting Special Minister of State Mathias Cormann confirmed the original Bill - Plebiscite (Same-Sex Marriage) Bill 2016 - would be introduced in its current form.

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