The federal government denies the date the proposed marriage equality finalising the plebiscite. The following reports suggest it will occur in February next year.
News Corp reported on Saturday night that voters will go to the polls next February to answer the question, “Do you approve of a law to permit people of the same sex to marry?”
But a spokesperson for the Prime Minister told Fairfax Media on Sunday: “The mechanics of the plebiscite, including the specific question and the timing, are subject to the usual cabinet process. We have not made any decisions yet.”
“The government said that a decision on same-sex marriage will be made by a vote of all Australians in a national plebiscite to be held as soon as practicable,” the spokesperson said.
Australian Electoral Commission
“Late last week, the [Australian Electoral Commission]. Provided advice to the Special Minister of State that strongly recommended against the conduct of a plebiscite this calendar year.”
Last month, Attorney-General George Brandis stated that the decision on public funding for the “Yes” and “No” plebiscite campaigns remains pending. Senior cabinet ministers, according to News Corp, oppose public funding because it would increase the vote’s estimated $160 million cost and potentially fuel homophobia.
Australian Marriage Equality called on the government to guarantee neither campaign will receive taxpayer funding.
“We did not ask for a plebiscite, but if one is being imposed, it’s vital the question, process, and timing is fair and delivered in consultation with the LGBTI community and all political parties,” AME chair Alex Greenwich said.
“One immediate way the government can provide confidence in the process is by listening to the 10,000 Australians who have signed our petition to ensure no public funding is provided to either campaign.”
News Corp reported opposition leader Bill Shorten will introduce a private member’s bill “in the coming weeks”. This is an attempt to legalise marriage equality with a free parliamentary vote instead.
Recently, Parents and Friends of Lesbians and Gays (PFLAG) Australia. Published survey results show that 8 out of 10 LGBTI Australians oppose the plebiscite. They are calling on the government to conduct a free vote in parliament instead.
A separate poll commissioned by PFLAG suggested wider public support for the plebiscite was dropping.
“A plebiscite will be an unnecessary, costly, divisive, and damaging public opinion poll that politicians can simply ignore if it doesn’t suit them.” PFLAG spokesperson Shelley Argent said on Sunday.
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