Advocates warn postal plebiscite could be challenged in court

Marriage equality advocates say they are seeking legal advice on a possible High Court challenge to a postal vote on marriage equality.

Some government members, including the Minister for Immigration and Border Protection, Petter Dutton, have proposed a $40 million postal vote on the issue that will be voluntary for voters and non-binding for politicians.

Marriage equality advocates have dismissed the idea, but also warn it could be challenged in court if the government takes up the proposal.

Long-time marriage equality advocate and just.equal spokesperson, Rodney Croome, said a postal plebiscite was still a mechanism that allowed for fear mongering against the LGBTI community.

“A postal vote will be a platform for fear-mongering and hate against the LGBTI community and our families, and we have a moral obligation to do all we can to stop it.” Croome said.

“We are seeking advice about challenging the postal vote in the High Court and if the advice shows there is an arguable case we will see the Government in court.”

Parents and Friends of Lesbians and Gays (PFLAG) and Rainbow Families Victoria back exploring a potential Court case. PFLAG national spokesperson, Shelley Argent said proposals for a plebiscite were only backed by those opposed to marriage equality.

“A postal vote will be be biased against equality for my son and others in the LGBTIQ community because highly-supportive groups like young people are the least likely to post back their ballot papers.”

“We’re also concerned that the Government will set the question in a negative manner because the ones pushing this insulting postal vote and the ones against equality.”

“A postal vote will resolve nothing because it’s very unlikely that both sides will accept the outcome.”

Rainbow Families Victoria spokesperson, Felicity Marlowe, echoed Argent’s concerns.

“A postal vote is not a legitimate process for making decisions about human rights and will erode our parliamentary democracy.”

“LGBTI Australians, our families and our allies are insisting on equal marriage through an equal process, and not being singled out for an unfair process.”

“This is just a way to delay marriage equality, which is why it only has the support of opponents of the reform.”

“It’s not the job of Australia Post to deliver marriage equality. It’s the job of the Australian Parliament.”

Appearing on the Karvelas program on SKY News on Sunday evening Rodney Croome said the decision on whether or not to challenge the plan in court would depend on the legal advice the group would receive if the plan was to move ahead.

“Professor George Williams, the constitutional law expert from the University of New South Wales, has said in the the media that he feels that because the postal vote won’t be enabled by legislation and that parliament won’t vote the money for that, that it therefore exceeds the authority of the executive.” Croome said.

OIP Staff

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