Non- bind­ing postal bal­lot la­belled a $ 122m waste of money Gay vows plan slammed

Townsville Bulletin - - NEWS - AN­DREW BACKHOUSE

A GAY Townsville man has slammed a move by the Fed­eral Govern­ment to spend $ 122 mil­lion on a non- bind­ing postal bal­lot if the Se­nate re­fuses to ap­prove a com­pul­sory plebiscite on same- sex mar­riage.

Terry Ste­wart said as a tax­payer he be­lieved a postal vote was an un­nec­es­sary use of govern­ment funds.

“I be­lieve it is a fi­nan­cial hur­dle to some­thing that seems in­evitable,” he said.

“I could un­der­stand and even ar­gue jus­ti­fi­ca­tion if we were a pi­o­neer­ing na­tion paving the way for the world to fol­low and we were us­ing this as a means to jus­tify or ex­plain a na­tion’s de­ci­sion.

“How­ever, at this time our na­tion’s la­tent de­ci­sion for equal­ity among a plethora of na­tions who have made those pi­o­neer­ing steps, I feel it is our de­lay that needs jus­ti­fi­ca­tion.”

Mr Ste­wart said he had met a part­ner with whom he would con­sider mar­riage and it had be­come an im­por­tant is­sue in his life.

“I would like to see ev­ery man and woman or in­di­vid­ual have the same le­gal rights and op­por­tu­ni­ties as one an­other,” he said. “The idea that any­one is de­nied such rights is an abom­i­na­tion.

“It’s time. It’s late, but it will hap­pen so why stand in the way of in­evitabil­ity?”

Mem­ber for Her­bert Cathy O’Toole sup­ports the cam­paign to al­low same- sex cou­ples to legally marry in Aus­tralia.

She said the is­sue should have been dealt with by a vote in Par­lia­ment.

The Aus­tralian La­bor Party mem­ber called the postal vote a “stalling tac­tic” by the LNPled Govern­ment and said it was dis­ap­point­ing.

“Not only is it a waste of time and en­ergy to put it up, it will be chal­lenged in court and that’s an­other un­nec­es­sary ex­pense,” she said. “This is per­sonal for me be­cause I have a daugh­ter in this very sit­u­a­tion.

“( Same- sex mar­riage) is a hu­man right.

“Why would we want to have se­cond- class cit­i­zens in our com­mu­nity when it comes to mar­riage? It’s ridicu­lous.”

Prime Min­is­ter Mal­colm Turn­bull said he ex­pected the pub­lic would sup­port mar­riage equal­ity in the so- called plebiscite, and that he would per­son­ally cam­paign for a “yes” vote.

It would be only the fourth time in Aus­tralian his­tory, and first time in 43 years, that the govern­ment puts a legally non­bind­ing ques­tion to the elec­torate.

The Lib­eral Party held a cri­sis meet­ing late on Mon­day to re­solve in­fight­ing and re­jected a push to al­low politi­cians to de­cide the is­sue now.

The Govern­ment yes­ter­day en­dorsed the party de­ci­sion to ask the Se­nate this week to re­con­sider al­low­ing the plebiscite, which would be held on Novem­ber 25.

Vot­ing would be com­pul­sory and fail­ure to vote would be pun­ish­able by a fine, al­though a vol­un­tary vote would be held if the Se­nate again re­jects the mea­sure.

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.

CRI­SIS IS­SUE: Prime Min­is­ter Mal­colm Turn­bull ex­pects the pub­lic will sup­port mar­riage equal­ity and he will cam­paign for a “yes” vote.

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