Coalition MP says ‘cost shouldn’t matter’ in Australian gay marriage plebiscite

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A coalition MP who has put forward a same-sex marriage bill in Australia says cost should be “taken out of the equation” when it comes to a public vote.

Warren Entsch, who put forward one of several bills to legalise same-sex marriage which will possibly never see a vote as Prime Minister Tony Abbott seems set on a plebiscite.

Abbott has banned coalition MPs from a free vote on the issue of same-sex marriage, and has said a plebiscite could take place after the next election.

Entsch criticised the cost of a plebiscite, which has been estimated at AUD$158.4 million by the Australian Electoral Commission.

The cost is around AUD$20 million more than the entire 2013 federal election.

And the cost of a plebiscite coinciding with an election would be around AUD$44 million.

The Liberal MP said the cost could be avoided entirely if coalition MPs were simply allowed a free vote on the issue.

But going on, he said if the Prime Minister were to insist on a plebiscite, cost should not be an issue.


“There seems to be an overwhelming view that people want to have their say,” Entsch said on Monday

“The cost should be taken out of the equation here and we should be accommodating that wish as soon as possible, preferably before the next election.”

A brief debate took place on Monday, and a cross-party group of MPs want parliament’s selection committee to allow further debate in the coming week.