The High Court ruled on September 7 that the government is able to legally carry out a proposed postal survey, ruling against plantiffs’ claims that the Australian Bureau of Statistics are not legally capable of doing so.
This means that over 16 million ballot papers will be sent out over the next few weeks. On the survey, which is set to cost $122 AUSD million, respondents will be asked: ‘Should the law be changed to allow same-sex couples to marry? Yes or No.’
Marriage Equality Director of GetUp Sally Rugg told reporters that LGBTI Australians would be “reeling” following the High Court’s decision.
“It’s clear the government have done their homework and have managed to sneakily circumvent parliament to force this postal vote on us.
“This isn’t where we wanted to be — and we’re only here because [former Prime Minister] Tony Abbott is still calling the shots in this government — but the government have another thing coming if they think we’re not prepared to win.
“We’re about to make the postal vote on marriage equality the biggest own goal the Liberal party have ever seen,” she added.
However, whatever the result, it will not lead to the legalisation of same-sex marriage, though a positive response could lead to a parliamentary vote on the matter. If Australians vote no, Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull has said a parliamentary vote will not proceed.
“I know there are many Australians who will be very disappointed by the High Court’s decision today,” said Labor Senate leader Penny Wong.
“We didn’t want to be here but now we are here, let’s win it. Let’s get it done. Let’s turn our disappointment into determination to get this done.”
More than 16 million survey forms will be sent to eligible voters’ households from September 12. Voters will be encouraged to return them by October 27, with a deadline of November 7. The results will be released at 11.30am, November 15.
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