Australia's ruling party refuses vote on gay marriage bill

Australia's ruling party refuses vote on gay marriage bill”

Queensland Liberal MP Warren Entsch, who is among Liberal MPs pushing for a free vote, says he reserves his right to take his own course of action on same-sex marriage but is happy to give a plebiscite another go.

During the election campaign, the government of prime minister Malcolm Turnbull promised a "plebiscite", and intends to promptly return the folder in front of the Senate.

We still don't know what the question will be, whether Australia Post is actually practically up to the task of handling postal ballots for every single eligible voter in Australia, and it's still gonna cost millions of dollars to do something we could do immediately through a free parliamentary vote for no cost.

The plebiscite has been criticized for being costly - it would likely require an estimated $160 million (in US currency) of taxpayer funds.

"Why do any of us have a right to stand in the way?" he asked, accusing the government of turning the issue into a "political football".

The ballot papers would be issued on September 12 with the result declared on November 15.

But opponents argue that the postal plebiscite would also need senate approval and have threatened a court challenge if it proceeds.

Sen. Nick Xenophon said his minor party's opposition had not changed since they opposed the plebiscite in the November vote.

Both the plebiscite and the postal vote would not be binding on members of the Australian parliament.

Liberals were told at the opening of the party room meeting the cabinet was in favour of resuscitating the government's original plebiscite proposal, followed by a postal vote in the event the plebiscite is rejected by parliament once again.

Labor has a conscience vote until the next election and, after that, members of the ALP would be bound to vote to allow same-sex couples to marry. If it failed, the Government would not facilitate laws to legalise same-sex marriage.

The process will be carried out by the Australian Bureau of Statistics, which came under fire a year ago for its handling of the national census.

The details of Australian government's plan to try and hold a public vote on marriage equality were revealed today.

A Bill to hold the compulsory plebiscite could be put to Parliament within a week but is unlikely to gain support in the Senate, or Upper House, where the ruling Liberal-National Coalition does not have a majority.

Labor has slammed the postal plebiscite option, with opposition leader Bill Shorten calling it a "colossal waste of time and money". "Weak leaders break them", Turnbull said, rejecting suggestions that a postal ballot would break his promise to hold a plebiscite.

"The Coalition supports the traditional definition of marriage between a man and a woman, but we won't seek to bind people beyond this term of Parliament and in the next will be the people's decision", Abbott said at the time.

"They should just make a decision and get on with it", she said.

Supporters say it would give ordinary people a voice in a debate dominated by activists.

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