Australian Leaders Plan Vote on Same-Sex Marriage, One Way or Another

A group of Liberals MPs have circulated a private members' bill on same-sex marriage

Late previous year, the upper house Senate rejected a government proposal on the matter, with opponents saying they believed it was best dealt with by a free vote in parliament.

"The government is committed to keep faith with the promise we made at the last election", Cabinet minister Mathias Cormann told reporters.

Australia's former top statistician says the Bureau of Statistics should not carry out the same-sex marriage postal vote, labelling it a "bad look". If the Senate rejects the measure, the government would then hold a voluntary postal vote, with the votes due back by mid-November, at a cost of $97 million.

"We've said all along that the best, cheapest and fastest way of resolving this is a vote in the Parliament", she told Sky News.

However if the bill fails a second time - which appears likely unless the Nick Xenophon Team changes its position - a voluntary postal ballot would be conducted.

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The Victorian Liberal MP Russell Broadbent said the government should just maintain its original policy, not the postal vote, and the New South Wales MP Julian Leeser expressed concerns about the postal vote, arguing if the government tried hard enough, it would get the original proposal through.

In the leadup to the last federal election in July 2016, almost one million Australians weren't enrolled to vote, including 380,000 of them in the 18-25 age bracket - nearly 18 percent of all people in that age group, compared to around six percent of the general population. "You heard me say again and again that every Australian will have a say on this issue", Turnbull said.

Sydney's Catholic Archbishop Anthony Fisher and his Anglican counterpart, Archbishop Glenn Davies, have criticised a proposed Bill to permit same-sex marriage in Australia as failing to protect religious freedom.

Basically, by framing the postal plebiscite as more of a statistical fact-finding mission than an actual plebiscite, the government reckons it can get it on the road without passing legislation.

The government will aim to secure a final result by November 15, two months after ballots will be distributed.

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"[It] now puts pressure on the "small-l Liberal seven" to bring on a private members bill", Goldner told the Blade.

There will be no free vote in parliament if Australians reject same sex marriage in the postal vote.

"It will have to come to a vote in parliament and we are waiting for that to happen".

If most Australians want gay marriage, the Parliament would vote on legislation before the last two-week session of Parliament of the year ends on December 7.

"That will be frustrating for advocates of marriage equality because it is absolutely clear in Australian law that Parliament could make this change today or this week if it wanted to", Mr. Goss said. He wants lawmakers to be able to have a free vote so they vote based on their conscience and not on party policy.

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