The Plebiscite


It seems to me that Tony Abbott negotiated a plebiscite as part of a ‘deal to defer’. Time does move on, and also Prime Ministers it would seem, and now it looks like we are going to have a plebiscite following the election, if we elect a coalition government. Perhaps the most frustrating thing about all of this is the likelihood of having to go to the electoral booth and vote twice.

We are not having a referendum on the question because it is not a constitutional issue. Indeed if Roxon and Ruddock had not conspired and contrived to change the marriage act in 2004, the ACT act would almost certainly have survived the High Court Challenge and in all likelihood single gender marriage would now be legal in most if not all states. Technically the plebiscite allows the people of Australia to voice their opinion. In reality most of the polling suggests that it will likely be carried by at least a 2/3rd majority. The polls have been entirely consistent on this matter for a long time and continue to drift to the affirmative.

The cost of a separate plebiscite is in the vicinity of $158,400,000 which to me seems like a waste of a lot of money.  That probably does not include the waste of time, the advertising, and travel costs for every voter to get there and express an opinion which is legally irrelevant and only morally requires the government to act.

If we must have a plebiscite – and I guess the coalition is now committed to it – I see no value in separating it for the forthcoming election. We have to go and vote, so why not get it over and done with at the same time and save some money (quite possibly in excess of $100 Million) as well.

For most of Australia it is a matter of Love and Justice. Some will see matter of divine imperative, tradition, and social convention. I respect that, however what Bishop Appleby described as ‘the claw of the past’ must not be the only voice that is heard in the land.

Under the current plans it would seem that if we elect a Labor Government, then there will be no plebiscite, and the matter will be before the house in the first 100 days. If we elect a Coalition Government, then there will be a Plebiscite within 100 days or so, and then legislation before the house. It would seem all but inevitable that Single Gender Marriage will pass within the term of the next parliament, regardless of what happens.

The truth is the amendments in 2004 make a mockery of our signature on the Hague Convention 1978.

Lets not make it hard.


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