Most Australians support same-sex marriage, but not the plebiscite in an opinion poll revealed on Wednesday (28 September).
In the poll published in The Australian newspaper which surveyed 1662 people last weekend, only 39% of voters backed the need of a national vote as to whether same-sex marriage should be legalized.
On the other hand, 48% of voters hold the opinion that the decision lies with Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull’s government.
13% of respondents were undecided.
The Turnbull administration had previously argued with the victory of its party at the elections in July 2015, it was given a mandate a hold a non-binding plebiscite in February this year to decide on the issue. Turnbull has described the AUD$170-million cost of the plebiscite as the ‘price of democracy’.
Parties that support same-sex marriage, on the other hand, argued the government should avoid a divisive public debate, and the plebiscite was proposed by right-winged conservatives who want it to fail. Political parties such as Australian Greens have also spoken up to discount the need of one; PFLAG Australia has also launched a new ad last month against the plebiscite.
Besides the issue on the plebiscite, the poll also showed 62% of respondents were in favor of marriage equality. 32% of the voters disagreed with the need for one and 6% were uncommitted.
The poll bolstered the stance of opposition party, Labour Party, after it signaled that it is likely to sink its own ship via scuttling the plebiscite – when its lawmakers settle their policy position at a meeting two weeks later.
Nonetheless, the plebiscite carries no legal weight – legislation will still have to be approved to allow same-sex marriage nationwide.
Some right-wing politicians have expressed they would vote against same-sex marriage regardless of the plebiscite outcome – but they would first need the opposition’s support to get enabling legislation for the plebiscite through the Senate.