Postal vote on gay marriage triggers furore

Dan Mc Culloch                                                       Tuesday

Dan Mc Culloch Tuesday

If this happens, Turnbull has committed Aus$122 million (US$97 million) to a postal vote, run by the Australian Bureau of Statistics, with ballot papers sent out on September 12 and due back by November 7.

Senator Cormann said the government's advice was there were no constitutional or legal problems with the postal vote, which if passed would lead to a marriage law change being brought to parliament.

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.

Wong also took issue with Government's unwillingness to accept that the legalisation of same-sex marriage is something majority of the Australian public want, and have wanted for several years, as evidenced by the many unofficial polls that have already taken place.

A final result from the postal poll is expected by November 15.

The plebiscite has been shot down in parliament again following the first unsuccessful bid by the Liberal Party last October.

Despite a postal vote now appearing all but certain, advocacy groups are promising a legal challenge, local media reported.

Mr Kirby said other changes in Australia had not been made by postal ballot or plebiscite.

ACL managing director Lyle Shelton has issued a warning to the Coalition ahead of the joint party room meeting this morning, where the Liberals and Nationals will decide on their official policy on how to progress the bid to legalise gay marriage.

The Turnbull government will put its doomed same-sex marriage plebiscite back before parliament for debate.

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'My prediction, and it's only a prediction, is that in the plebiscite, whichever of the two forms it takes, more people will vote yes than no, ' Senator Brandis said on Tuesday night.

Cr Cook, a stalwart campaigner for marriage equality, was against the postal and contemporary plebiscite given their results would not be binding on the parliament.

She also targeted Liberal Senator Mathias Cormann who claimed the plebiscite could be a "unifying moment" and that people could be respectful.

Supporters of same-sex marriage carry banners and shout slogans as they march in Sydney on August 6.

After months of delays and rumors about how Australia would make a democratic decision about the contentious issue, the process itself has become a subject of widespread scorn.

"Obviously I will be voting no".

"This is ridiculous", Opposition leader Bill Shorten said after the meeting.

But independent MP Andrew Wilkie and marriage equality advocates Shelley Argent and Felicity Marlowe have initiated High Court action to head off the ballot.

"The issue is can the government pay for a postal plebiscite in a constitutionally valid way, and I think there's serious questions about whether it can do that", Paul Kildea, director of the Referendums Project at the Gilbert + Tobin Centre of Public Law, told CNN.

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