Published: Sat, August 12, 2017
Worldwide | By Gretchen Simon

Wong urges government to stop gay marriage vote

Wong urges government to stop gay marriage vote

Prime Minister Turnbull estimates it to be a little more than 96 million dollars U.S.

Unlike a compulsory vote such as the Federal election, bureaucracy surrounding the postal vote could force thousands of Australians out of voting.

"We will argue that the government can not validly undertake a postal vote and also that it can not fund the exercise without parliamentary approval".

Despite the complete turnaround in his views, Turnbull gave himself top marks for how he was handling the issue, which has been tearing his Liberal-National government apart for months.

"They're going to hear so many things they don't need to hear", Ms Williams said.

"This is a vote whose sole aim is to stop the members of this parliament being given a chance to do their job and vote", openly gay Senator Penny Wong told colleagues.

The conservative Liberal-National coalition previous year went to the polls promising to hold a nationwide plebiscite, but the opposition Labor Party, Greens and crossbench senators yesterday rejected the option in the Upper House Senate for the second time.

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'I wasn't sure at first if it was mandatory, ' he said.

"Obviously there will be a vigorous campaign and I will be voting "no", I'll be voting against changing the Marriage Act", he said.

Turnbull's announcement today will undoubtedly please the hardline conservatives in his party, including former PM Tony Abbott, who plans to campaign for a no vote, claiming it's a matter of free speech, religious freedom and a battle against political correctness.

For years a strong majority of Australians have supported the right of same-sex couples to marry, but Australia's politicians have steadfastly refused to allow lawmakers to vote on the issue. "We understand there won't be any [government] funding, for no one". Opponents say the result would be less representative of the Australian population and that young adults would be particularly underrepresented because they are less familiar with traditional mail. "But if we have to have it, let's create a unifying moment in the nation", Mr Shorten said.

On Wednesday morning, the government's attempt to reintroduce a same-sex marriage plebiscite was blocked by the Senate.

Campaigners question the legal validity of the postal plebiscite and the expenditure of $122 million for the vote. "It is an absolute waste of time and money". Any plebiscite will have no official standing.

If most Australians want gay marriage, the Parliament would vote on legislation before the last two-week session of Parliament of the year ends on December 7.

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