The reason why the same-sex marriage plebiscite could cost you more

No doubt you’re sick of hearing about the same-sex marriage plebiscite. But the latest development might mean your taxpayers dollars
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No doubt you’re sick of hearing about the same-sex marriage plebiscite.

But the latest development might mean your taxpayers dollars could be used to fund the campaign against same-sex marriage.

So what’s happening this time?

Well, some government MPs and senators are pushing for taxpayers dollars to be given to both sides of the debate.

Senator Eric Abetz wants the Government to give $10 million to the Yes and No campaigns.

He claims denying that funding would breach the plebiscite deal the LNP struck last year.

“I wanted to flag my concern up front straight away that this idea that somehow you can have a proper plebiscite without funding for the ‘yes’ and ‘no’ cases would not be the sort of plebiscite that was envisaged by the party room when we decided on it,” he told the ABC.

But several church leaders are claiming Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull promised them funding for their campaign against same-sex marriage.

Anglican Archbishop of Sydney Glenn Davies told the Sunday Telegraph the PM offered to fund both sides of the campaign.

A spokesman for Dr Davies said Mr Turnbull stated funding would be made available to both sides of the campaign “in words that were unambiguous”.

“The promise was later raised at a smaller meeting with Senator Brandis in March, who then asked what funding was appropriate, to which the Archbishop replied: The same amount as in 1999, CPI adjusted,” he said.

Australian Christian Lobby managing director Lyle Shelton backs the archbishop’s claim.

 

 

“I am concerned the consultation we had been led to believe would occur has not occurred,’’ he said.

So what does Malcolm Turnbull have to say about it?

Well his office is denying such a promise was made.

 

The decision is yet to be made about whether public funding will be given to either side of the campaign.

But Mr Turnbull and Attorney-General George Brandis say that both sides would get equal funding if the government agreed to it.

 

There’s no guarantee though.

“We want to keep the cost of the plebiscite as low as it can be kept,” Senator Brandis told the ABC.

 

The Prime Minister said the issue was a matter for the Cabinet to decide.

What does the Opposition think of it all?

Well Labor MP Terri Butler is “very worried” about public money going to fund the no case.

“He’s talking about publicly funding an argument to say that human rights should not be extended to a minority. That is a significant concern that I have with this,” she said.

So what about Labor’s plans to push for a parliamentary vote on the issue?

Both the Labor party and the crossbench MPs introduced their own separate same-sex marriage bills to parliament this morning, with further debate expected on them as the week progresses.

What do you think? Should the Yes and No campaigns be funded in the same-sex marriage plebiscite? Or is the proposed plebiscite expensive enough as it is?

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