We have written at length about the expensive, unnecessary and potentially harmful public vote on same-sex marriage in Australia – and thankfully, it has just now been blocked.
The plebiscite was voted on by the Upper House Senate, who voted 33 to 29 against the coalition government’s bid to have it held.
As we mentioned at the start of the article, the public vote would have been both unnecessary and expensive, as it would have cost the Australian public AU$160 million (US$123 million, €111 million).
Also, experts such as PFLAG have said that such a vote could be damaging for LGBT people living in Australia.
A spokesperson for PFLAG, Shelly Argent, said back in June: “[Marriage equality] needs to be dealt with sensibly in the federal parliament and not reduced to a slanging match in the public square with our children used as political punching bags.”
Opposition leader Bill Shorten said shortly after the plebiscite was blocked: “The experts have unequivocally explained to Labor that the plebiscite would cause harm to gay and lesbian people particularly but not exclusively young people. Marriage equality, let’s make it a reality, let’s just get on with it.”
Labor has been pushing for a free vote on marriage equality an action that they believe could see it brought into law by the end of 2016.
A poll was conducted back in July which found that 48% of people would support a public vote, however this dropped to 35% when they learned such a vote would not be legally binding and dropped further to 25% when they learned of the cost.
A different poll conducted back in August found that 57% of Australians would vote in favor of same-sex marriage, with only 28% against and 15% unsure.
Here’s hoping that this block of the plebiscite will knock some sense into PM Malcolm Turnbull, and usher in a much requested free vote on same-sex marriage.