The details of Australian government’s plan to try and hold a public vote on marriage equality were revealed today.
On Monday the Liberal Party held an emergency party room meeting to finally decide its position on the issue.
Only seven out of 83 members voted to change the party’s policy to decide on marriage equality with a free vote in parliament.
Today, Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull and Finance Minister Mathias Cormann revealed details of the government’s plans.
Senator Cormann will reintroduce the legislation for a plebiscite to the Senate this week. Most likely on Friday and the government will push for the plebiscite to happen on November 25, 2017.
It is highly likely the plebiscite legislation will be voted down again as there are not enough numbers in the Senate in favour of it.
If that happens the government will move forward on a voluntary postal plebiscite. The postal vote not be compulsory and will cost taxpayers $122 million.
The ballots for a postal vote will be sent out on September 12 with the aim of having them returned and counted by November 15.
Cormann announced it would be the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) rather than the Australian Electoral Commission that would run a postal vote.
No postal vote
Australia’s leading marriage equality groups believe a postal vote held through the ABS could be unconstitutional.
Just.equal is seeking further advice from leading QC, Ron Merkel. If the advice indicates grounds on which a postal vote could be challenged they will seek an injunction to stop the vote.
‘A postal vote will be an expensive, non-binding, illegitimate process that will provide a platform for hate and go nowhere,’ said national spokesperson for Parents and Friends of Lesbians and Gays, Shelley Argent.
‘This Government is looking increasingly ridiculous because of the lengths it is going to stop Parliament doing its work and voting marriage equality through.’
The Equality Campaign also indicated it would lodge action in the High Court to stop the postal vote.