Already the same-sex marriage plebiscite is estimated to cost around $160 million. But recently it’s also been revealed that the Cabinet will allocate $7.5 million in taxpayer funding to both pro and anti-marriage equality campaigns, bringing the total estimated cost to approximately $175 million.
The plebiscite (if it passes through parliament) has been given the green light from the Federal Cabinet to take place February 11 next year.
So that means between shovelling mint chocolates into your mouth and cringing at The Bachelor, your TV could soon be filled with anxious conservative rhetoric.
In an original submission to cabinet by Attorney-General George Brandis, it indicates that neither side of the debate would receive funding from the government. However, over time party members such as Immigration Minister Peter Dutton and treasurer Scott Morrison lobbied for funding to be provided.
It’s been decided that the question put to voters in the plebiscite will be: “Should the law be changed to allow same-sex couples to marry?”
“A ‘no’ campaign would be an emotional torment for gay teenagers and if one child commits suicide over the plebiscite, then that is one too many.”
Bill Shorten on Monday also introduced a private member’s bill aiming to sidestep the plebiscite and legalise same-sex marriage through a parliamentary vote. However, if this is rejected, and Labor and other parties decide to block the plebiscite, it could delay marriage equality until the next election.
With the proposed funding, the Australian Christian Lobby have already confirmed they would use the money to strengthen their ‘No’ crusade, while continuing to fight inclusive sex education in schools.
With Labor, Nick Xenophon, the Greens and even the Liberal party’s first openly gay federal politician Dean Smith certain to challenge the plebiscite, the likelihood of it getting through parliament is very slim.
In preparation for the possibility of a plebiscite, it might be a good time to buy yourself a pack of UNO cards to play with your mates on those nights you just can’t stand to watch another ad on why equality is bad.