The government has confirmed Australians won’t get to see the proposed marriage equality bill before being asked to vote on it.
If a High Court challenge were to shoot the plebiscite down, there will be no free vote on the issue in parliament, and if the plebiscite goes ahead and a “no” vote wins, there will be no free vote in parliament.
If the plebiscite goes ahead and a “yes” vote wins, it will be non-binding, and a vote will be ‘considered’ by the government.
Finance Minister Mathias Cormann said the question on the ballot was “self-explanatory” and that “people across Australia understand what the question is,” according to Pink News.
“We will facilitate consideration of a private members’ bill after the plebiscite if the ‘yes’ vote has been carried.”
A bill to hold a compulsory plebiscite on marriage equality has twice failed in the Senate, with a $122 million postal plebiscite looking likely to take its place.
However, a group of advocates yesterday announced a High Court challenge to the postal plebiscite, claiming it would be unconstitutional.
Calls have begun for people who want marriage equality to enrol to vote and ensure they have their say should the postal plebiscite go ahead.
“I think it is critical that we know what legislation there would be a vote on,” said Alex Greenwich, co-chair of Australian Marriage Equality.
“Without that, the process just looks like an even bigger farce.”
Calls to scrap the plebiscite entirely in favour of a free parliamentary vote have intensified, with protests drawing marriage equality activists from around the country.
Executive director of The Equality Campaign, Tiernan Brady, said, “The momentum that has grown over the past few months is not going anywhere, we’re not going anywhere.”