Published: Thu, August 10, 2017
Medicine | By Megan Pierce

Staggering cost of gay marriage vote

A voluntary postal vote, conducted by the Australian Bureau of Statistics, will now be held, with polling closing on November 15.

"And I say to you if you don't like same-sex marriage, vote no".

Whether Australians vote in a compulsory-attendance plebiscite on November 25 or take part in a voluntary postal ballot from mid-September is likely to be decided in the Senate this week.

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.

While Turnbull favours same-sex marriage and many other small "l" liberal positions, he is hamstrung by the conservatives in his Liberal party and a one seat majority in parliament.

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull, who supports marriage equality but has battled right-wing members of his own Liberal Party who are against legalising such unions, on Thursday spoke out against a boycott.

The ABS, who famously bungled the Census a year ago, will work with the Australian Electoral Commission (AEC) and Australia Post to get the job done.

Guardian Australian understands the case will also question whether the direction to conduct the vote and the appropriation to pay for it are in fact "urgent", when they could be made through an instrument the Senate could disallow.

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.

"I can take you to a country where you won't have to worry about $150 million price tag - North Korea", he told reporters.

A postal vote on same-sex marriage is expected next month.

Polls vary, but overall, about 60 percent or more of Australians support the right of same-sex couples to marry. That was allowing Australian voters to make the final decision through a mandatory public vote, known as a plebiscite. "No new taxes" was what you said before the 2013 election and you introduced the three per cent deficit fix tax.

Labor argues that system will disadvantage young people who are less familiar with stamps and non-electronic forms of mail.

Can I vote from overseas?

"The usual rules will apply in relation to communication by members of parliament", he said. "The only reason it has not been held is because of [Labor leader] Bill Shorten's opposition". "But in the end this is not about the politicians, this is about the people, it's about your view", he said.

"Obviously I will be voting no", he said on Wednesday.

Handing the job to the ABS and using ministerial powers would get around the need for legislation passing parliament and potentially head off a court challenge by marriage equality advocates.

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