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Author Topic: Gay Liberal senator questions the validity of a same-sex marriage plebiscite  (Read 1148 times)

Mary-Jane

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Gay Liberal senator questions the validity of a same-sex marriage plebiscite

Senator Dean Smith, the Liberal Party's first openly gay federal parliamentarian, has questioned the outcomes of the proposed plebiscite on same-sex marriage.

Mr Smith wrote in an article published in The Age that the validity of a plebiscite needs to be looked at in the lead up to the public vote on marriage equality.

“… the nature and effectiveness of plebiscites will again come into sharp focus over the next couple of years, with the government committed to holding a national plebiscite on the question of same-sex marriage,” Mr Smith wrote.

While Smith is a supporter of same-sex marriage he questioned the precedent plebiscites set and also the cost of a plebiscite.

“We must also bear in mind the precedent being set as we embark on this latest democratic experiment,” he wrote.

“After all, if Parliament is to send the nation to a plebiscite to determine the question of same-sex marriage, what is to be done the next time an overseas military commitment is needed?

“Into the future, shall we defer to popular vote the question of euthanasia? What of changes to family law and child custody arrangements? These issues are informed by people's moral views and impact upon people's personal lives just as much as same-sex marriage.”

A Senate report found that a plebiscite could cost $158.4 million - — not including public funding for a yes or no campaign.

Mr Smith questioned whether it is appropriate to use taxpayers’ money for such a public vote:

“…there is no history of public funding for plebiscite campaigns. Given a primary argument in support of a plebiscite is that attitudes towards same-sex marriage are heavily characterised by personal, moral and religious considerations, is it appropriate to use taxpayers' funds to support arguments "for" or "against"?

“Before Australians get to decide on the question of same-sex marriage, parliamentarians will need to put their mind to all these questions,” Mr Smith wrote.

Conflict of Interest Statement: Mary-Jane is Editor of Perth Gay News and The Media Annuncio of the Perth Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence of the Abbey of the Black Swan.

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