Australian Senator: Why a public vote for same-sex marriage but not military deployment?

The first out gay Liberal federal parliamentarian has questioned whether a public vote on same-sex marriage is the right thing.

Liberal Senator Dean Smith, who has spoken out in favour of same-sex marriage on numerous occasions, questioned whether other issues such as military deployment should also be decided by plebiscite.

Senator Smith wrote for Fairfax Media today to say that people’s morals informed decisions on such issues, which have an impact on their lives.

“Should we be using the approaching centenary of Australia’s first plebiscite as a time to more fully contemplate the dividing line between issues upon which Australians should vote directly, and those issues upon which parliamentary representatives should be the arbiters?” he said.

He also questioned the funding of a plebiscite on same-sex marriage.

The Australian government has stood by plans to hold a plebiscite on same-sex marriage after the next election.

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull has committed to holding a plebiscite (public vote) on the issue after the next federal election – meaning the vote may not take place until 2017, and marriages might take even longer to begin.

Coalition MP Warren 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 Australian Senate last month passed a motion calling on the PM to scrap plans for a distant ‘public vote’ on same-sex marriage, to act on the issue now.