Postal plebiscite on gay union

Townsville Bulletin - - NEWS -

AUS­TRALIANS will be asked by post in Oc­to­ber to vol­un­tar­ily vote on gay mar­riage un­der a Turn­bull Govern­ment plan to get the is­sue off the agenda by the end of the year.

The Govern­ment will rein­tro­duce its failed plebiscite to amend the Mar­riage Act into the Se­nate this week, af­ter a group of gay mar­riage sup­port­ers forced the is­sue at a spe­cial Lib­eral Party room meet­ing yes­ter­day.

But with the like­li­hood the Bill will fail in its cur­rent form, the Govern­ment will move to a non- com­pul­sory, non- bind­ing postal plebiscite, which will ask Aus­tralians to vote on the is­sue in Oc­to­ber.

Re­sults would be ex­pected in Novem­ber and if the ma­jor­ity voted in favour of mar­riage equal­ity, a free vote would be held in Par­lia­ment in early De­cem­ber. If it failed, the Govern­ment would not fa­cili- tate laws to le­galise same- sex mar­riage.

Last night, Queens­land MP War­ren Entsch, who has cam­paigned on mar­riage equal­ity for 15 years, sig­nalled he would hold off pulling the trig­ger on a co- spon­sored, gay mar­riage Pri­vate Mem­ber’s Bill.

Govern­ment tac­ti­cians view this as the best so­lu­tion that will en­able a start to 2018 with­out dis­trac­tions on gay mar­riage.

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