The Courier-Mail

Cost must not stop law change

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THE Liberal MP behind laws to allow same-sex marriage says cost should be “taken out of the equation” when it comes to a national vote.

The Australian Electoral Commission said a standalone plebiscite would cost $158.4 million, almost $20 million more than the 2013 federal election. A plebiscite conducted at the same time as an election would cost $44 million.

Liberal MP Warren Entsch said the cost could have been avoided if Coalition MPs were allowed a free vote on his legislatio­n. “There seems to be an overwhelmi­ng view that people want to have their say,” Mr Entsch said yesterday.

“The cost should be taken out of the equation here and we should be accommodat­ing that wish as soon as possible, preferably before the election.”

Liberal MP Teresa Gambaro said florists and cake makers would not be sued if gay marriage was made legal. Liberal senator Cory Bernardi had warned people could be penalised for refusing to provide services for same-sex weddings.

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