Australian public won’t get to see same-sex marriage bill before vote
Voters in Austrailia won’t get to see proposed legislation on same sex marriage before being asked to vote on it, the Government has confirmed.
Finance minister Mathias Cormann said the question was “self-explanatory”, adding “we believe people across Australia understand what the question is.”
Speaking to BuzzFeed News, he explained: “Our position is very clear; we will facilitate consideration of a private members’ bill after the plebiscite if the yes vote has been carried.”
The comments come as a postal vote on the gay marriage finally kicks into action, despite repeated calls for a vote in Parliament.
The country’s leading party voted down proposals for MPs to vote on the issue, despite the fact it would have been free.
Instead, the non-binding plebiscite, or referendum, will cost taxpayers $120 million.
The Senate also rejected calls for a compulsory attendance plebiscite, meaning the voting will instead take place by post, with no penalties for failing to take part.
If there is a yes vote, Cormann says MPs will then look to vote on the issue.
However, there’s no legal requirement to uphold the vote.
“I think it is critical that we know what legislation there would be a vote on,” said Alex Greenwich, co-chair of Australian Marriage Equality.
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“Without that, the process just looks like an even bigger farce.”
Currently, there is disagreement over exactly what the bill would look like, with questions over how it would fit together with anti-discrimination laws.
Hundreds of people rallied across the country earlier this month, demanding a parliamentary vote.
There has also thought to have long been a majority of politicians in Parliament supporting same sex marriage, however, campaigners have struggled to table a vote.
Speaking earlier this week The Equality Campaign’s executive director, Tiernan Brady, added: “We’re not going anywhere.
“The momentum that has grown over the past few months is not going anywhere, we’re not going anywhere.”