Politicians Slam Postal Vote On Same-Sex Marriage

Friday, 11 Aug, 2017

But national referendums in Australian rarely change the status quo.

If you want to have your say, make sure you're officially - and correctly! - enrolled to vote as soon as possible, especially if you've moved recently.

He rejected claims the debate around a plebiscite would be damaging, insisting the government trusted the Australian people to have a respectful debate.

Before the compulsory plebiscite was defeated, there had been mixed views among same-sex marriage advocates about whether to knuckle down and fight for a "yes" vote, as had recently succeeded in Ireland, or whether to block the national plebiscite.

The government has been roundly criticised for its determination to push forth with the postal plebiscite, which was decided in a lengthy party room meeting on Monday.

Voting in the plebiscite will be voluntary - unlike in elections in Australia, which are compulsory - and happen through the post.

Several Liberal Party lawmakers have expressed exasperation with the handful of colleagues, including former Prime Minister Tony Abbott, who have resisted a simple vote in Parliament.

IT APPEARS Toowoomba residents are divided in opinion when it comes to same-sex marriage, with hundreds voicing their opinion yesterday after a postal plebiscite was announced.

Incidentally, both these cabinet ministers will be voting no, as will Treasurer Scott Morrison, notably at odds with their leader.

Regardless of many polls showing high public support for marriage reform, the campaign starts with its outcome unpredictable.

Shorten's stunning rebuke of the Government's policy comes after reports the postal vote may be susceptible to voter fraud and that people living overseas or in rural or remote areas may find it hard to get their vote counted.

The voluntary plebiscite, in which voters would mail their ballots from September 12 until November 7, would cost AU$122 million. Responses would be voluntary and therefore less indicative of public opinion.

Turnbull told reporters on Tuesday they had legal advice that the postal vote would stand up to any challenge in Australia's High Court.

Kildea said without parliamentary legislation to approve the expenditure, there could be questions around whether they had the "statutory authority" to carry it out.

Australia House, where more than 15,000 ballots were cast in the 2013 election, has had a "handful of inquiries" from Australians asking how they can cast their vote in the same-sex marriage plebiscite, says Prue Loney, communications adviser for the Australian high commission.

Earlier this week, lawmakers in the Liberal Party - the (actually conservative) ruling party in Australia's Parliament - had attempted to pass a mandatory plebiscite, which would have required Australians to vote on the issue at the polls this November.

"The Australian Christian Lobby described our children as "the stolen generation"," the openly gay senator said.