The Federal Government has confirmed its intention to hold a plebiscite on marriage equality, with $160 million earmarked for the vote in the 2016/17 Federal Budget.
“The Government has also made provision in the Contingency Reserve of $160 million for the plebiscite on same-sex marriage,” a statement from Attorney-General George Brandis (pictured) read.
Australian Marriage Equality called on the Government to drop its plans for the plebiscite, which is a public vote, and spend the allocated money on essential services instead.
“Fairness and equality for all Australian shouldn’t cost a cent,” Australian Marriage Equality National Director Rodney Croome said.
“The Budget has confirmed just how costly a plebiscite will be, and how wasteful given Parliament could pass marriage equality tomorrow.
“Corporate, political and religious leaders, and mental health experts, have all raised concerns about a plebiscite.”
Recently, Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull said he believes the plebiscite result will be in favour of marriage equality, and he believed that the public debate around the issue would be “perfectly civil”.
Deputy Opposition Leader Tanya Plibersek blasted Turnbull in the parliament, calling the plebiscite “expensive, divisive, and meaningless” and saying it was time for Parliament to just “get it done.”
Australian Marriage Equality plan to run campaigns in more than 30 seats across Australia to win over candidates and communities during the group’s largest election campaign ever, Mr Croome said.
“If the Coalition remains committed to a plebiscite and is returned to government we will run a ‘yes’ campaign that unites Australians behind a reform that reflects our nations’ values of fairness and equality,” he said.