THE bill for a plebiscite on marriage equality has failed in the Senate a second time, with a $122 million postal vote now likely to commence in its place on September 12.

The plebiscite was blocked a second time today after Labor Senator Penny Wong argued against the government’s plan to carry out a poll rather than represent the people, Out in Perth has reported.

Wong called the Coalition “utterly divided” on marriage equality and called for a decision to be made in the partyroom.

If the postal plebiscite now goes ahead, former Prime Minister Tony Abbott is urging voters to reject marriage equality in the name of religious freedom and rejecting political correctness, according to The Sydney Morning Herald.

“Obviously I will be voting no,” Abbott said this morning.

“But in the end this is not about the politicians, this is about the people, it’s about your view.

“And I say to you if you don’t like same-sex marriage, vote no. If you’re worried about religious freedom and freedom of speech, vote no, and if you don’t like political correctness, vote no because voting no will help to stop political correctness in its tracks.”

The government agreed yesterday to hold a plebiscite that will cost $122 million. Ballots are likely to be posted in September if the plebiscite survives a probable High Court challenge.

Abbott designed the original plan for a plebiscite during his prime ministership in 2015. He has promised to respect the outcome of the vote and urged all MPs to do so as well.

Deputy opposition leader Tanya Plibersek today called a plebiscite “the worst possible option”.

“It is inconceivable, when John Howard was able to change the Marriage Act in an afternoon with a vote in the parliament, that we are now once again embarking on this tortured debate about whether we have a plebiscite, whether that plebiscite is binding  or voluntary,” said Plibersek in an interview.

“We know that the parliament has the power to change this legislation now… this parliament can legislate now, and it should.”

PM Malcolm Turnbull’s office has been contacted for comment on the plebiscite and campaign.

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