A postal vote on Australian marriage equality is likely in November: what you need to know

Photo: Brendon Thorne/ Getty Images.

It looks likely Australia will vote in a national postal ballot on marriage equality in November.

Details of the vote have been announced today by the Turnbull government. It makes it possible for same-sex marriage to be legal in Australia before Christmas.

Here’s how it’s going to roll:

  • The government will test its original proposal in the Senate this week, proposing a full plebiscite that would be held on November 25. This is expected to be rejected by the Senate.
  • If that happens a postal vote will then be scheduled for November 7, with ballots mailed out in September, prime minister Malcolm Turnbull announced today.
  • The question will be: “Should the law be changed to allow same-sex couples to be married?”
  • A “yes” vote in the postal ballot would clear the way for a private members’ bill amending the Marriage Act to be introduced and be tested in a free vote in Parliament — where it would likely pass.

It will be organised through the Australian Bureau of Statistics and cost $122 million.

Australian Electoral Commission officials will be seconded to the ABS to help organise the postal ballot, finance minister Mathias Cormann said.

The marriage equality movement is opposed to the postal vote solution, and has warned it may test it in court.

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