MAKE VOICES HEARD: The Federal Government has announced a postal plebiscite for same sex marriage.
MAKE VOICES HEARD: The Federal Government has announced a postal plebiscite for same sex marriage.

Postal vote has mixed response

FLYNN MP Ken O'Dowd said it was important people took the postal vote on same sex marriage seriously as it would help decide whether or not same sex marriage will be legalised in Australia.

Australians will have a chance to have their say on same sex marriage in a postal plebiscite recently announced by the Federal Government.

Voters have until August 24 to ensure their details are up to date and by September 12 will start to receive ballot papers in the mail.

"In order to have your say, you must be enrolled to vote and I encourage everyone in the Burnett to check or update their enrolment with the AEC by visiting www.aec.gov.au/check,” Mr O'Dowd said.

He said it had been a very difficult issue to discuss in parliament.

"Taking the question of same-sex marriage to the people was a clear policy we took to last year's election. After striking trouble in the senate, this postal plebiscite is how we will deliver that promise,” Mr O'Dowd said.

If a 'yes' decision is reflected in the postal vote, Mr O'Dowd said he would be happy to take it to the senate.

"I have always stated my intention to be guided by the electorate on this issue and the results of this plebiscite will determine my position when it comes time to vote in the house,” he said.

"I have previously conducted surveys across Flynn and found a resounding majority in favour of keeping the current definition of marriage, however if this plebiscite returns a different result I will honour the electorate's desire to change.”

This week opponents labelled the plebiscite a "stupid idea” and vowed to launch a High Court challenge.

Opposition leader Bill Shorten attended a press conference and spoke about the coalition's call for a plebiscite.

"I am disappointed for hundreds of thousands of Australians that their Prime Minister has once again let them down,” Mr Shorten said.

The plebiscite will take place next month and residents are urged to get their contact details up to date.

How to vote

The postal plebiscite will use the normal electoral role which means if you voted in the past, all you've got to do is ensure all your information is correct before August 24.

Around 14% of young people between the ages of 18 and 24 are not enrolled according to the latest data from the Australian Electoral Commission.

When are we voting?

The ballot papers will start arriving in the mail from September 12. You will have until November 7 to post them back.

Is it compulsory?

The postal plebiscite is not compulsory but everyone is encouraged to have a say.

Advocacy groups are voicing their concerns that voter turn-out will be low and that the results will not be representative.

What happens after a result?

The vote itself cannot legalise same sex marriage.

In the event of a 'yes' vote, the government said it would allow a private member's bill to be introduced to the house in the final sitting fortnight of 2017.

Members of parliament will be given a free vote where it is expected to pass.

If the people say 'no' in the postal ballot, Malcolm Turnbull said no bill would proceed.


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