Current Affairs

Australia considers holding a nationwide ballot on marriage equality

March 20, 2017
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Australian politicians are considering holding a national ballot on same-sex marriage.

Ministers from Malcolm Turnbull’s conservative government are pushing to hold a national plebiscite on marriage equality.

They want the referendum to held by voluntary postal vote.

The ministers are now in talk with cabinet colleagues about the possibility of holding the national vote, according to the Daily Telegraph.

The Australian Electoral Commission would send out postal ballots for a voluntary vote by Australians to partake in the vote on same-sex marriage.

Labor and Green party politicians had attempted to kill off the proposal of a national plebiscite, but this postal option would avoid the need for new legislation.

Chief legal officer Paul Pirani has confirmed that the parliament could go ahead with a plebiscite without bringing new legislation, using a “voluntary postal vote methodology.”

Co-chair of the Australian Marriage Equality campaign, Alex Greenwich, called the move a “desperate ploy”.

“Voters actually want the parliament to have a vote on it and for it to be resolved,” he said.

“Let’s this unpack a bit this further, this is a voluntary postal vote process, which is still going to require a vote in parliament.

“Let’s save the taxpayer the money, let’s save the government the distraction of three to six months, and let’s just get on with it and get the parliament to do its job.”

Australia’s Prime Minister, Malcolm Turnbull, has reaffirmed his opposition to passing same-sex marriage without a public vote beforehand.

Right-wing Prime Minister Turnbull has refused to permit a free Parliamentary vote on equal marriage.

Last week, 20 heads of some of Australia’s largest companies penned a letter to Turnbull urging him to allow a free vote on the issue in Parliament.

However, the PM – who is thought to have made assurances to his Coalition’s anti-LGBT wing against any such move during his leadership bid – rebuffed any change.

Mr Turnbull told reporters: “Our policy on this is well-known, which we took to the election [last year].

“There should be a plebiscite on the issue first.

“The Labor Party has frustrated that by opposing it in the Senate, despite the fact that Mr Shorten only three years ago gave his very public and vocal support for a plebiscite which would give every Australians a say on the matter.”

Meanwhile, Turnbull’s immigration minister Peter Dutton attacked business leaders for shoving “politically correct nonsense down our throats”.

In a radio interview he said: “If they want to run for politics, well resign from their position and stick their hand up at the next election but don’t jam your politically correct views down our throats”.

Related topics: Australia, Australia, Gay, homophobic, leader, malcolm turnbull, Nazi, one nation, PM, Prime Minister

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