As it’s likely the Senate will reject the proposal this week, the Government’s fall back plan is a national postal ballot on marriage equality scheduled for November 7, asking Aussies the question, “Should the law be changed to allow same-sex couples to be married?”
If the majority of Australians return their ballots with a “yes” vote, a private members’ bill amending the Marriage Act will go to Parliament, where Liberal members will be able to exercise a free vote, meaning they can vote according to their own beliefs.
The good news? Same-sex marriage could be legal in Australia before Christmas.
The whack news? Holding a national postal vote, which will be organised through the Australian Bureau of Statistics, will cost $122 million.
(Postage ain’t cheap.)
Turnbull’s reasoning for the plebiscite and postal vote is that it will allow “all Australians to have their say.”
“We know what happens to governments that break their promises. We have made a very clear commitment here and we will stick to it.”
Opposition Leader Bill Shorten said Labor would not support the plebiscite. “Our view hasn’t changed. We think this is a harmful debate,” he said. “We think we should get on with it and vote with it here.”
If the postal vote takes place, ballots will be mailed out in September.
Better dust off that stamp collection…