The Australian government has proposed
an alternative to a plebiscite on same-sex marriage.
The push for a non-binding referendum,
or plebiscite, on the issue has stalled in the Senate. Appearing on
ABC's The 7:30 Report, Australian Attorney General George
Brandis, also a senator, discussed the new plan.
“It would cost $122 million and
instead of being run by the Electoral Commission, it would be
conducted by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS),” Brandis
said. “Voters would begin receiving ballots on September 12,
ahead of a count on November 7, but voting would not be compulsory.”
Brandis predicted that voters would
approve the measure.
Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull argues
that the vote is necessary to give the public a say on the issue, a
pledge he made in the last election.
“Strong leaders carry out their
promises, weak leaders break them,” he said. “I'm a strong
leader. I made that promise again and again. … You heard me say
again and again that every Australian will have a say on this issue.”
Neither vote, though, is binding or
would legalize such unions, leading many to criticize a public vote
as a waste of money and time.
While polling shows that a majority of
Australians support marriage equality, supporters fear that a
divisive campaign could set back the movement.