Whether Australia should hold a plebiscite on same-sex marriage

INTRODUCTION

The plebiscite is a rarely used democratic tool, having only been utilised by the Australian federal government three times in the nation’s history.[1] Like a referendum, the plebiscite is used to poll the population of the country to determine the answer to a controversial or important question before Parliament.[2] Unlike a referendum, a plebiscite is not a Constitutional mechanism — rather it is a creature of Statute that can effectively take on whatever form Parliament decides.[3] Again, unlike a referendum, a plebiscite is not used to alter the Constitution, and is in fact primarily used to gauge the opinion of the population on issues of legislative change.[4] For around a decade the Australian Federal Parliament has been debating the issue of same-sex marriage.[5] 17 Bills have been tabled in Parliament, but the bulk of these never move past a Second Reading Speech and end up being voted out rather quickly;[6] if they pass in one House of Parliament they usually fail in the other. Recently, Parliament has been discussing putting the issue of same-sex marriage to a plebiscite,[7] meaning everyone in the country will be able to vote on whether same-sex marriage should be legalised. The detail of the plebiscite will most likely take the form of an alteration to the Marriage Act,[8] though some believe that a referendum should be held to alter the Constitutional power over Marriage despite the High Court ruling in 2013 that this is inappropriate and the Constitution is clear on the section 51(xxi) Marriage power.[9] Instead of discussing whether same-sex marriage should be legalised, this essay will explore the appropriateness of a plebiscite on this issue in Australia. Drawing on historical examples of plebiscites domestically and internationally a critical analysis of the arguments put both for and against a plebiscite, and a deeper investigation into the impact of a national vote, this essay will ultimately determine that a plebiscite on the issue of same-sex marriage is inappropriate, a waste of Federal money, and potentially damaging to the mental and perhaps physical wellbeing of LGBTI+ Australians.

THE NATURE OF A PLEBISCITE

A plebiscite is not subject to the stringent laws of a referendum.[10] A referendum is governed by the Referendum Act 1984, which requires compulsory voting, a double majority, and immediate Constitutional reform following the outcome.[11] A plebiscite however is not governed by any specific Act, nor is it a Constitutional mechanism. As such, it is important to look critically at the nature of any proposed plebiscite on same-sex marriage and its potential affectivity.

In Australia’s history only three plebiscites have been held (in comparison to the 44 referenda).[12] Two of these plebiscites were on conscription into Australia’s armed forces.[13] The third was on changing Australia’s national song from ‘God Save The Queen’ to ‘Advance Australia Fair’.[14] Compulsory voting is not an absolute requirement for plebiscites, but non-compulsory voting would make redundant the purpose of the vote anyway.[15] Both plebiscites on armed forces conscription, held in 1916 and 1917 respectively were defeated,[16] whilst the vote on the National Song in 1977 was successful.[17]

Despite the success of the vote on the National Song in 1977, it took Parliament seven years to enact legislation legitimising the will of the people.[18] Unlike a referendum, a plebiscite does not actually place any obligation on Members of Parliament to enact the result of the vote.[19] In this respect, critics of plebiscites have likened the form of voting to ‘no more than a formalised, national opinion poll’.[20] As such, controversy arose after politicians have said they will vote against same-sex marriage regardless of the result of the plebiscite.[21] Notably, Liberal National Party MP Tim Wilson has called on those who would vote against same-sex marriage to enter an abstained vote if the result of the plebiscite shows Australian’s are in favour of same sex marriage.[22] Issues will also arise if the plebiscite comes back unfavourably for same-sex marriage activists.[23] Many Australian Labor Party Members, independents, and Greens members have already thrust their support behind same-sex marriage generally.[24] If the plebiscite result comes back against same-sex marriage it will be interesting to see if these MPs vote against their conscience in favour of the public will, as many have been calling LNP MPs to do already.

Additionally, it is doubtful that a plebiscite will be the end of the discussion surrounding same-sex marriage.[25] The vote itself will not automatically mean the Marriage Act will change to include same-sex partnerships — Parliament will still have to draft and vote on the amendments (a process that could, again, be time consuming and elongated). This is especially pertinent given that it took seven years for Parliament to change the national song following the ’77 plebiscite. A recent survey conducted by Galaxy has shown that the more Australians understand about the plebiscite the less they support it being held.[26] The survey showed that after learning about what the plebiscite would entail (meaning potentially non-compulsory voting, and the fact that Parliament did not have to abide by the results) support for the plebiscite fell from 48% to 35% support.[27] This demonstrates a number of things. First, that Australians are not comfortable holding a plebiscite if it does not even result in a binding result on Parliament, and second, that perhaps Australians genuinely do not understand what a plebiscite actually is. It may be easy for the political elite and the educated to wax lyrical about the free and democratic process that is a plebiscite, but for those with next to no knowledge of how a plebiscite works or how Bills pass in Parliament for that matter the vote may feel intimidating and worthless. If this is the case, it may be the result that voters simply will not show up on the day, leaving Parliament with an incomplete poll of the population that would vastly undercut the power of the Plebiscite entirely.

Leading up to the Senate Inquiry into the ‘Matter of a popular vote, in the form of a plebiscite or referendum, on the matter of marriage in Australia’ Independent Senators drafted a Plebiscite Act that sought to tackle some of the issues discussed above.[28] Explored in the draft Bill was the idea of introducing a kind of hybridized sunset clause, in which the popular vote of the people would either strike down or enact the amendments to the Marriage Act.[29] This type of clause would work around the issue of post-plebiscite unease and would mean that the Parliamentarians would be removed from the process almost entirely. There are benefits to this style of Plebiscite. First, given that the issue is so wrought with personal opinion, it would mean our Members of Parliament would not have to engage with nor support or oppose the amendment. This would also mean that neither party would officially have to take a side on the issue; campaigns both for and against same-sex marriage could be run independently from Parliament. Second, the effect of passing all power to the Australian populous would mean no Parliamentarian would be able to oppose the views of the people on a purely personal moral basis (regardless of the result). Evidently, given the consistent failure of same-sex marriage legislation in both houses of Parliament,[30] our Members are unable to come to any kind of conclusion amongst themselves; this passing of power absolutely to the people mirrors the intent of the plebiscite in the first place which is to determine what the Australian population wants and to amend the Marriage Act accordingly.

This method of amendment does have its drawbacks, however. It would first mean that the Australian Parliament would have to draft the Plebiscite Act to include the exact wording of the amendments should they pass. There are currently a number of different ideas as to what the amendment to the Marriage Act should look like,[31] and having voters in the Plebiscite having to decide on specific wording of the Act could be detrimental to the purpose of the vote itself. We may wind up in a situation not unlike the 1999 Referendum into whether Australia should become a Republic. Many Republicans voted against the Republic vote in the Referendum purely on the basis that the model proposed was dissatisfactory.[32] Similarly here, if voters are going to vote on specific wording of the Act there may be many pro-same-sex marriage voters who feel isolated, ignored, or dissuaded by the particular wording of the Act. Specificities as to legislation should not be the responsibility of the population; rather Parliament should have some opportunity after the Plebiscite concludes to debate the amendments freely.

WHY A PLEBISCITE

Criticism has been aimed at the LNP in the lead up to the federal election after Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull decided to stick with the party policy of holding a plebiscite on same-sex marriage.[33] Turnbull has since succeeded in the Federal election and importantly, the AEC has said the plebiscite will not be held this year.[34] His decision to continue pushing for a Plebiscite is in direct contrast to the recommendation passed down by the Senate Committee.[35] It is also contrary to the policy of the ALP who campaigned on the basis of holding a vote on amending the Marriage Act “within 100 days after entering Parliament”.[36] The ALP and Leader Bill Shorten have been consistently anti-Plebiscite during their election campaign, but most notably after Senator Penny Wong came out against holding the Plebiscite during the campaign process.[37] This desire to pass the amendment in Parliament runs directly with the recommendation of the Senate Committee and satisfies the cries of anti-Plebiscite advocates. Each of the main reasons both for and against a Plebiscite will be critically discussed below without prejudice to the question of whether same-sex marriage should be legislated for generally.

Parliament Should Pass The Amendment Without A Plebiscite

Opponents of the Plebiscite often cite the idea that, clearly in Australia, after tens of polls on the issue, the majority of Australian’s are in favour of a same-sex marriage and polling the entire nation is a waste of resources.[38] The natural counter-argument to this proposition is that if we are so confident in the majority of Australian’s supporting same-sex marriage, we should hold a Plebiscite to confirm that. Naturally, the polls conducted on same-sex marriage are generally run by interested groups (on both sides of the argument), so it is necessary to be sceptical of the data provided. Additionally, advocates of a Plebiscite cite the 17 failed amendment Bills that have passed through Parliament since 2004, all of which have failed.[39] Clearly Parliament has shown it is not willing, or unable to pass the amendment and thus further inquiry into the opinion of the population is needed. Whilst this statistic is not incorrect, it does not take into account the fact that the LNP has been staunchly against allowing its members to vote with their conscience since 2011.[40] Currently, the number of members in Parliament who have given their support to same-sex marriage trumps those against it, or those choosing to abstain from opining at this time.[41] The majority of those opposed to the amendment come from the conservative wing of the LNP who have been accused by the ALP of bullying PM Turnbull out of calling for a conscience vote within his party.[42] Prior to his selection as leader of the LNP, Mr Turnbull had been quite clear in his support of same-sex marriage,[43] and after he was chosen as leader some expected he would call for a conscience vote on the issue in the Lower House.[44] Since his selection and subsequent election in the Federal Election, Mr Turnbull has seemingly shied away from his affirmative views on a Parliamentary vote.

It should also be questioned as to whether this is actually an issue we need to hold a national vote on. Those in favour of a Plebiscite have been cited as saying that, given the sensitive and apparently controversial nature of the issue, everyone should be allowed to have their say before Parliament acts.[45] However true this argument is, it is plagued with hypocrisy and seems to be a final attempt to halt the progress of marriage equality in Australia. Whilst a Plebiscite is undeniably the most democratic method of altering the Marriage Act,[46] it is perhaps not the most appropriate. Drawing on historical examples, Australia has only voted on issues that directly impact each and every person in the nation (conscription, and the national song). Additionally, Parliament has not called for a Plebiscite on other issues of national importance in the past.[47] For example, our involvement in the Iraq War was, and remains today, a controversial decision by Prime Minster John Howard at the time, and one made without reaching out to the nation. Additionally, in 2004 when PM Howard decided to change the Marriage Act to the discriminatory words we have today Parliament did not feel the need to seek out the opinion of every person in Australia. Clearly Parliament has made more controversial decisions in the past without having to poll the nation and Parliament has already displayed its ability to alter the Marriage Act without a nationwide Plebiscite, so why are they incapable of doing so now?

The Cost and Timing of a Plebiscite

One of the main criticisms levelled at the Plebiscite is the costs associated with holding one.[48] Initially, it was thought that a Plebiscite might be held concurrently with the 2016 Federal Election at a cost of $44.0 Million.[49] Evidently, that did not come to fruition, and we are left still without a date for the vote. Now, however, it is estimated that a stand-alone vote on same-sex marriage could cost upwards of $158.4 Million.[50] This is counting the man power needed to hold a vote on a national scale, including having enough polling booths around the country for it to be accessible, having all the ballot papers printed, and hiring the Australian Electoral Commission to help run the logistics of the vote. Additionally, there is the added costs that will arise from the Federal Government providing funds to both the ‘Yes’ and ‘No’ campaigns preceding the vote (although it should be noted that lobbyists, as was mentioned in the Senate Inquiry, will not likely need much money as their ‘campaigns’ have technically been running for a number of years now).[51]

There is the added possibility that this plebiscite will not be held for a number of years from now. Currently, Federal Parliament has been preparing for the next referendum on the recognition of Indigenous Australians in the Constitution.[52] This referendum is due to take place either this year or early next year, and it is unlikely that Parliament will be willing to spend and hold three large scale votes (including this year’s 2016 election) in the space of two years; the drain on the federal budget would be potentially quite large. In this case, it is likely that a vote on same-sex marriage will not occur until 2018 — and seeing as the issue has been labouring for over a decade so far another two years could be a bit too long for those in the LGBTI+ community (especially as most other western nations have already legalised same-sex marriage).

The Democratic Process

Undeniably, a Plebiscite is the only way to truly measure the opinion of the Australian population on the issue of same-sex marriage. Clearly, a poll displaying the number of Australians both for and against the issue will put to rest the years of back and forth debating in Parliament. If the issue is as contentious as the LNP make it out to be we can expect a very passionate debate from both camps about the merits and demerits of same-sex marriage. However, when one looks toward the nature of the arguments behind the positions both sides take, the lead up to the plebiscite could be a rough period for those affected by the legislation.

A number of recent studies have displayed how the campaign period leading up to the Plebiscite could be severely detrimental, and in fact traumatic, for those in the LGBTI+ community.[53] When observing the ‘No’ campaign ran during the 2015 Irish Plebiscite into same-sex marriage one can see the anti-same-sex marriage side coming down hard on the apparent immorality of same-sex partnerships and the assertion that children need to grow up in traditional heteronormative family structures.[54] The campaigns have been described as “an expensive onslaught of discriminatory propaganda seeking to devalue, undermine, and actively attack thousands of relationships, families, and young people.”[55] Opposition Leader Bill Shorten has called holding the Plebiscite and providing the ‘No’ campaign with Federal money a “taxpayer funded platform for homophobia”.[56] Recent studies have demonstrated that the ‘No’ campaign will impact the mental wellbeing of LGBTI+ Australians, with young people and children of same-sex couples destined to bear the full emotional weight of the campaign.[57] Whilst the democratic nature of a Plebiscite is undeniable, it is not without its flaws. Whilst it is unreasonable to suggest that we should not poll the nation on the basis of having LGBTI+ people offended, it is not out of the realms of possibility that a constant barrage of negative and inflammatory messages (often based in fear and ignorance, rather than fact) could directly harm the mental health of LGBTI+ Australians and perhaps incite physical assault in the unlikely eventuation of violent protesting.

CONCLUSION

Without the necessary specificities of how the Plebiscite will be run and what the impact of the result will be on how Parliament ultimately amends (or doesn’t amend) the Marriage Act it is difficult to say with confidence that a Plebiscite is the incorrect route for Australia to take. However, considering Australia’s history with Plebiscites, the incredible cost and potential delay, and the direct emotional impact a campaign could have on our LGBTI+ population, it would be inappropriate for Federal Parliament to shrug off their elected duties and instead have Australia vote on an issue that could quite quickly be decided by a free conscience vote in the House of Representatives and the Senate.

[1] Legal and Constitutional Affairs References Committee, Parliament of Australia, Mater of a popular vote, in the form of a plebiscite or referendum, on the matter of marriage in Australia (2015) 1.18.

[2] Greg Cavern, ‘Referenda, Plebiscites and Sundry Parliamentary Impedimenta’, (2004) 20(1) Australasian Parliamentary Review 80, 81–82.

[3] Ibid.

[4] Ibid.

[5] Norman Witzleb, ‘Marriage as the ‘last frontier’? Same-sex relationship recognition in Australia’, (2011) 25(2) International Journal of Law, Policy and the Family 135, 135.

[6] Legal and Constitutional Affairs References Committee, Parliament of Australia, Mater of a popular vote, in the form of a plebiscite or referendum, on the matter of marriage in Australia (2015) 1.6.

[7] Ibid at 1.8; The Hon Tony Abbott MP, Prime Minister, Joint Doorstop Interview, Queanbeyan, 12 August 2015; Judith Ireland, Tony Abbot flags plebiscite on same-sex marriage in bid to defuse anger, (12 August 2015) The Sydney Morning Herald < http://www.smh.com.au/federal-politics/political-news/tony-abbott-flags-plebiscite-on-samesex-marriage-in-bid-to-defuse-anger-20150811-giwyg1.html/>.

[8] Legal and Constitutional Affairs References Committee, Parliament of Australia, Mater of a popular vote, in the form of a plebiscite or referendum, on the matter of marriage in Australia (2015) 1.5.

[9] The Commonwealth of Australia v The Australian Capital Territory [2013] HCA 55 at paragraph 1; Legal and Constitutional Affairs References Committee, Parliament of Australia, Mater of a popular vote, in the form of a plebiscite or referendum, on the matter of marriage in Australia (2015) 2.5.

[10] Greg Cavern, ‘Referenda, Plebiscites and Sundry Parliamentary Impedimenta’, (2004) 20(1) Australasian Parliamentary Review 80, 81–82.

[11] Referendum (Machinery Provisions) Act 1984 (Cth).

[12] Legal and Constitutional Affairs References Committee, Parliament of Australia, Mater of a popular vote, in the form of a plebiscite or referendum, on the matter of marriage in Australia (2015) 1.18.

[13] Ibid.

[14] Ibid.

[15] Ibid. at 3.8.

[16] Australian Electoral Commission, What are referendums and plebiscites? (9 September 2015) Australian Electoral Commission < http://www.aec.gov.au/elections/referendums/types.htm>.

[17] Australian Electoral Commission, National Song Poll (8 May 2014) Australian Electoral Commission < http://www.aec.gov.au/elections/referendums/national-song-poll.htm>.

[18] Legal and Constitutional Affairs References Committee, Parliament of Australia, Mater of a popular vote, in the form of a plebiscite or referendum, on the matter of marriage in Australia (2015) 2.17.

[19] Greg Cavern, ‘Referenda, Plebiscites and Sundry Parliamentary Impedimenta’, (2004) 20(1) Australasian Parliamentary Review 80, 81–82.

[20] Legal and Constitutional Affairs References Committee, Parliament of Australia, Mater of a popular vote, in the form of a plebiscite or referendum, on the matter of marriage in Australia (2015) 2.16.

[21] Jane Norman, Election 2016: Malcolm Turnbull confirms MPs can vote against gay marriage regardless of plebiscite (24 June 2016) ABC News < http://www.abc.net.au/news/2016-06-24/election-2016-coalition-mps-can-vote-against-gay-marriage/7540988>.

[22] Brigid Andersen, David Lipson, Tim Wilson calls on anti-same-sex marriage MPs to abstain from voting on legislation (22 July 2016) ABC News < http://www.abc.net.au/news/2016-07-22/tim-wilson-same-sex-marriage-plebiscite/7653936>.

[23] Australian Marriage Equality, Why Australian Marriage Equality opposes a plebiscite on marriage equality, AustralianMarriageEquality.Org < http://www.australianmarriageequality.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/08/AME-Fact-Sheet-Plebiscite.pdf> (Accessed 4 August 2016).

[24] Australian Marriage Equality, Where Your MP Stands On Marriage Equality, AustralianMarriageEquality.Org < http://www.australianmarriageequality.org/whereyourmpstands/> (Accessed 4 August 2016).

[25] Legal and Constitutional Affairs References Committee, Parliament of Australia, Mater of a popular vote, in the form of a plebiscite or referendum, on the matter of marriage in Australia (2015) 2.17.

[26] Heath Aston, Poll questions level of community support for same-sex marriage plebiscite (20 July 2016) The Sydney Morning Herald < http://www.smh.com.au/federal-politics/political-news/poll-questions-level-of-community-support-for-samesex-marriage-plebiscite-20160720-gq9wed.html>.

[27] Ibid.

[28] Marriage Equality Plebiscite Bill 2015 (Cth).

[29] Legal and Constitutional Affairs References Committee, Parliament of Australia, Mater of a popular vote, in the form of a plebiscite or referendum, on the matter of marriage in Australia (2015) 3.23.

[30] Legal and Constitutional Affairs References Committee, Parliament of Australia, Mater of a popular vote, in the form of a plebiscite or referendum, on the matter of marriage in Australia (2015) 1.6.

[31] Ibid. at 3.9–3.20.

[32] Bernard Cross, ‘The Australian Republic Referendum, 1999’ (2007) 78(4) The Political Quarterly 556, 563.

[33] Brian Tobin, Australia doesn’t need a plebiscite on same-sex marriage — Ireland’s experience shows why (27 June 2016) The Conversation < http://theconversation.com/australia-doesnt-need-a-plebiscite-on-same-sex-marriage-irelands-experience-shows-why-61499>.

[34] Cec Busby, AEC says plebiscite not possible in 2016 (2 August 2016) Gay News Network < http://gaynewsnetwork.com.au/news/national/aec-says-plebiscite-not-possible-in-2016-21708.html>.

[35] Legal and Constitutional Affairs References Committee, Parliament of Australia, Mater of a popular vote, in the form of a plebiscite or referendum, on the matter of marriage in Australia (2015) 4.4.

[36] Labor Herald, Marriage equality within the first 100 days of a Shorten Labor government (26 July 2015) Labor Herald < https://www.laborherald.com.au/politics/labor/marriage-equality-will-happen-within-the-first-100-days-of-a-shorten-labor-government/>.

[37] Paul Karp, Same-sex marriage plebiscite will license hate speech, says Penny Wong (21 June 2016) The Guardian < https://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2016/jun/21/same-sex-marriage-plebiscite-will-license-hate-speech-says-penny-wong>.

[38] Australian Marriage Equality, Why Australian Marriage Equality opposes a plebiscite on marriage equality, AustralianMarriageEquality.Org < http://www.australianmarriageequality.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/08/AME-Fact-Sheet-Plebiscite.pdf> (Accessed 4 August 2016).

[39] Peter Reith, We need a plebiscite to take the politics out of push for marriage equality (8 June 2015) The Sydney Morning Herald < http://www.smh.com.au/comment/we-need-a-plebiscite-to-take-the-politics-out-of-push-for-marriage-equality-20150608-ghizcm.html>.

[40] Christian Kerr, Abbott prevents conscience vote on same-sex marriage (11 October 2011) The Australian < http://www.theaustralian.com.au/national-affairs/abbott-prevents-conscience-vote-on-same-sex-marriage/story-fn59niix-1226163375225>.

[41] Australian Marriage Equality, Where Your MP Stands On Marriage Equality, AustralianMarriageEquality.Org < http://www.australianmarriageequality.org/whereyourmpstands/> (Accessed 4 August 2016).

[42] Ibid.; Liz van Acker, Federal election: Malcolm Turnbull is lacking leadership on same-sex marriage (21 June 2016) The Sydney Morning Herald < http://www.smh.com.au/federal-politics/federal-election-2016-opinion/federal-election-malcolm-turnbull-is-lacking-leadership-on-samesex-marriage-20160621-gponh3.html>.

[43] Lanai Scarr, Malcolm Turnbull slammed by Cory Bernardi over gay marriage stance (7 July 2015) The Advertiser < http://www.adelaidenow.com.au/news/national/malcolm-turnbull-slammed-by-cory-bernardi-over-gay-marriage-stance/news-story/158d18bb07147f0178048158dc3eccc3>.

[44] Joshua Kurlantzick, What to expect from a Turnbull Government in Australia (19 September 2015) The Diplomat < http://thediplomat.com/2015/09/what-to-expect-from-a-turnbull-government-in-australia/>.

[45] James Massola, Mark Kenny, Federal election 2016: Australian voters overwhelmingly back Malcolm Turnbull’s plebiscite policy (1 July 2016) The Sydney Morning Herald < http://www.smh.com.au/federal-politics/federal-election-2016/federal-election-2016-australian-voters-overwhelmingly-back-malcolm-turnbulls-plebiscite-policy-20160701-gpw6es.html>.

[46] Greg Cavern, ‘Referenda, Plebiscites and Sundry Parliamentary Impedimenta’, (2004) 20(1) Australasian Parliamentary Review 80, 81–82.

[47] Legal and Constitutional Affairs References Committee, Parliament of Australia, Mater of a popular vote, in the form of a plebiscite or referendum, on the matter of marriage in Australia (2015) 2.18–2.20.

[48] Legal and Constitutional Affairs References Committee, Parliament of Australia, Mater of a popular vote, in the form of a plebiscite or referendum, on the matter of marriage in Australia (2015) 3.24–3.32.

[49] Ibid at 3.24.

[50] Ibid at 3.25.

[51] Ibid at 3.41.

[52] Ibid at 3.48.

[53] Paul Karp, Same-sex marriage plebiscite will license hate speech, says Penny Wong (21 June 2016) The Guardian < https://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2016/jun/21/same-sex-marriage-plebiscite-will-license-hate-speech-says-penny-wong>; Brian Tobin, Australia doesn’t need a plebiscite on same-sex marriage — Ireland’s experience shows why (27 June 2016) The Conversation < http://theconversation.com/australia-doesnt-need-a-plebiscite-on-same-sex-marriage-irelands-experience-shows-why-61499>; Australian Marriage Equality, Why Australian Marriage Equality opposes a plebiscite on marriage equality, AustralianMarriageEquality.Org < http://www.australianmarriageequality.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/08/AME-Fact-Sheet-Plebiscite.pdf> (Accessed 4 August 2016).

[54] Brian Tobin, Australia doesn’t need a plebiscite on same-sex marriage — Ireland’s experience shows why (27 June 2016) The Conversation < http://theconversation.com/australia-doesnt-need-a-plebiscite-on-same-sex-marriage-irelands-experience-shows-why-61499>; Samuel Leighton-Dore, This is what our same-sex marriage plebiscite will look like & it’s scary (25 May 2016) Pedestrian.TV < https://www.pedestrian.tv/news/arts-and-culture/this-is-what-our-same-sex-marriage-plebiscite-will/946f19c3-3fa4-4dd0-8e11-c1e3fc841859.htm>.

[55] Samuel Leighton-Dore, This is what our same-sex marriage plebiscite will look like & it’s scary (25 May 2016) Pedestrian.TV < https://www.pedestrian.tv/news/arts-and-culture/this-is-what-our-same-sex-marriage-plebiscite-will/946f19c3-3fa4-4dd0-8e11-c1e3fc841859.htm>.

[56] Paul Karp, Same-sex marriage plebiscite will license hate speech, says Penny Wong (21 June 2016) The Guardian < https://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2016/jun/21/same-sex-marriage-plebiscite-will-license-hate-speech-says-penny-wong>.

[57] Australian Marriage Equality, Why Australian Marriage Equality opposes a plebiscite on marriage equality, AustralianMarriageEquality.Org < http://www.australianmarriageequality.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/08/AME-Fact-Sheet-Plebiscite.pdf> (Accessed 4 August 2016).