PM reportedly under pressure to adopt a postal plebiscite plan

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull is reportedly under pressure to accept the proposal of a postal based plebiscite on marriage equality after the Queensland Liberal-National party passed a motion voicing support for the idea.

The Australian has reported that the Queensland branch passed a motion supporting the idea for a non-binding, non-compulsory national vote that would be mailed out to voters.

The motion calling on the federal government to act on marriage equality was passed after what has been described as a “fiery debate” that was closed to the media.

The motion was put forward by Nationals Senator Barry O’Sullivan who has described the push for a free vote in parliament as a “recipe for disaster”.

Last week the senator launched a blistering attack on his coalition colleagues who are pushing for a parliamentary vote on the issue telling them to “shut the flip up” about marriage equality.

“It doesn’t matter whether it’s the behaviour of selfish individuals who want to just be disruptive or whether it’s individuals pursuing specific issues in a manner that’s in conflict with the policies we took to the election … I’m saying to my colleagues, you need to shut the flip up,” Senator O’Sullivan told The Australian last week.

Senator O’Sullivan said MPs who didn’t respect the outcome of the epic party meeting that created the plebiscite policy two years ago should pack up their bags and go home.

“We had one of the longest party­-room meetings in the history of our side of government where we determined the plebiscite for the same-gender marriage. It doesn’t get any fairer than that.” O’Sullivan declared.

The idea for a postal plebiscite was first put forward by Liberal MP Warren Entsch, but he no longer supports the idea. The proposal was also supported by leading conservative MP Peter Dutton.

Marriage equality advocates have slammed the idea

Just.equal spokesperson Rodney Croome said postal votes would be biased against the reform.

“This is a deeply flawed proposal that will be biased against marriage equality.

“A postal vote will favour the ‘no’ case because younger voters, who are more likely to support marriage equality, are less likely to return their voluntary postal ballots.”

“It also won’t require legislation so the Government will be able to bias the question and other aspects of the vote any way it wants.”

Croome said the only people calling for a postal plebiscite were people who were opposed to marriage equality.

“It’s no coincidence that the only people keen on a postal vote are those who are dead against marriage equality.

“The only legitimate path forward is a vote in Parliament where all members are able to vote according to their conscience.”

A recent Galaxy Research poll found that only 14% of Australians support a postal vote when they know it is voluntary for voters and not binding on politicians. Croome said recent Australian elections have been marred by complaints about postal ballots.

OIP Staff

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