Marcha 24, 2018

PM outlines $122m gay marriage postal vote

08 Agosto 2017, 06:41 | Martinez Canez

Michael McCormack doubtful Liberal's marriage equality bill will 'get up'

Any move to hold a postal vote on same-sex marriage is likely to be challenged in the High Court

Turnbull opened the meeting by outlining the plan for a quick reintroduction of the plebiscite legislation, with the postal vote the fallback.

"The intention would be to have ballot papers arrive in people's letter boxes from 12th September onwards", said Mathias Cormann.

Federal Coalition members of Parliament are angry that several of their colleagues are planning to suspend standing orders in the House of Representatives to consider another bill to redefine marriage.

Former Prime Minister Tony Abbott has warned against the postal vote.

"They had the opportunity to resolve this matter through a vote in Parliament and they said 'no", he said. But division over the controversial and costly plebiscite has stalled the issue in Parliament.

The government would need to flip a couple of crossbench votes to get the plebiscite up in the Senate.

Only seven Liberals voted in favour of change: Warren Entsch and Trevor Evans (Qld); Tim Wilson and Jason Wood (Vic); John Alexander and Trent Zimmerman (NSW); and Senator Dean Smith (WA). "Turnbull's leadership would become untenable and he'd no longer be prime minister".

The plebiscite legislation will be placed before the Senate again, as early as this week, after being rejected 33-29 back in November.

The ACL is threatening to campaign against the Coalition if it goes ahead with anything other than a plebiscite on the same-sex marriage issue. Pictured here with One Nation leader Pauline Hanson.

Mr Shelton handed the petition to Senator Cory Bernardi, leader of the minor Australian Conservatives party, to present to the upper house.

Turnbull is on record as favoring gay marriage, but he had to agree to the plebiscite idea instead of direct action in Parliament in order to placate his most conservative backers in the coalition.

A joint coalition partyroom meeting on Tuesday made a decision to resubmit legislation this week for a national vote and if the Senate rejects it again a voluntary postal vote will be held ahead of a private member's bill following a "yes" win.

If the legislation fails to pass the Senate, a voluntary postal vote which would give Australians the option to vote for or against same sex marriage, would likely be the next step.

'If the outcome is no, then the government will not do that, ' Senator Cormann told reporters in Canberra. "It would be very improper of us to abandon the clear commitment we took to the election for no change without a people's vote first".

"The proposition that voluntary voting lacks legitimacy, I don't accept".

Today's meeting will discuss the issue which has returned to national prominence after moderate MPs began agitating for parliament to address the issue.

Finding policy agreement on the issue is a test of prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull's authority over his government, which has trailed the center-left opposition Labor Party for months in opinion polls. "This Bill fails to protect either individual conscience or religious freedom and I urge MPs to reject it".

Australia has decided against a parliamentary vote on same-sex marriage.


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