History shows same-sex marriage plebiscite unnecessary and out of step

The nation is bracing itself for an imminent, non-binding, non-compulsory postal plebiscite on marriage equality. This is not Australia’s first plebiscite on an important issue of national interest. Our own history calls the necessity of this plebiscite into question, and shows that a postal vote regarding marriage equality signals a new era in Australian plebiscites, Dr Rebecca Ananian-Welsh and student Chris Peppel argue.

Australians are familiar with referenda: the national vote required in order to amend the Australian Constitution. A plebiscite is a different beast. This national vote is entirely non-binding on legislators. It might be compared to a government-sponsored national opinion poll.

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Last updated:
24 August 2017