Christian Porter defends government’s marriage postal survey expenditure

Christian Porter, the Minister for Social Services has defended the government’s $122 million expenditure on the marriage postal survey, arguing that democracy is expensive.

Speaking to Perth radio station 6PR, Porter told host Gareth Parker that the survey was the only way the government could find out what Australians really think about allowing same sex couples access to marriage.

Yesterday former Labor Prime Minister Bob Hawke declared the decision to move forward with the costly process was the “worst economic decision ever made by any Australian Prime Minister.”

Porter highlighted that the 80 year old former Prime Minister had mistakenly referred to the current Prime Minister as Malcolm Fraser, rather than Malcolm Turnbull. Fraser was the Prime Minister Hawke himself succeeded in 1983.

The Minister said the former PM could be forgiven for getting confused about who the current Prime Minister is, given Hawke’s advancing years, but labeled his views absurd.

“That is an absurd comment.” Porter said, defending the expenditure.

“The reality is, that on a few select issues there is a need to try and get real evidence on what the Australian people think.”

The Minister said that while there had been polling on the issue, the survey would deliver the government conclusive evidence on what Australians really thought about the issue.

“Yeah, sure there’s been polls done, and they show a range of different things, but this will be utterly conclusive on a very personal and sometimes divisive issue, as to what Australians generally support and don’t support.”

Porter said he believed that when it came to deciding what to do about the marriage laws the expense was justified.

“The reality is that democracy is never a cheap business, but understanding what people think, particularly on an issue as important and foundational as this, if it costs $120 million, I think ultimately that’s money that is going to be well spent.

“It allows us to now something that really we don;t know at the moment.” Porter said.

Porter said the level of response to the survey showed that it was an issue that Australians held passionate views about. The Minister said all views on marriage had to be respected.

“This process allows us to understand what those views are, and where people land on it as a whole.”

Earlier this week the Australian Bureau of Statistics estimated that 57% of Australian had already returned their survey forms. The result of the survey of the survey will be announced on 15 November.

OIP Staff


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