However, clever drafting can ensure, to use the Turnbull's words, that "when the Australian people make their decision, that decision will stick". The law for the plebiscite should be based upon the normal rules that govern elections and referendums. The government will need to start from first principles. Andrew Meares The problem for Brandis is a lack of useful precedents on how a national plebiscite should be run. Since Federation in , Australia has held only three national plebiscites. This is one of the worst ideas I have heard for some time. In suggesting this, they have exposed the bankruptcy of their position, on the one hand supporting a popular vote and on the other retaining the right to ignore the outcome.
Without these, the plebiscite, especially in the event of a close result, may be undermined by criticism that it did not properly express the will of the people. The first two were in and during World War I on whether to introduce conscription. Don't Play Brandis is already beset by those who want to determine how the plebiscite will run. In suggesting this, they have exposed the bankruptcy of their position, on the one hand supporting a popular vote and on the other retaining the right to ignore the outcome. Special government funding should not be provided to organisations agitating for or against change. This should be circumvented. Voting should occur at the ballot box, rather than solely by post. The ballot on the national anthem dealt with an entirely different issue. Advertisement Ballot box Credit: The law for the plebiscite should be based upon the normal rules that govern elections and referendums. Instead, public money should support a credible, independent set of neutral information. In like ballots held overseas, such as the recent plebiscite on Scottish independence, the vote has been extended to 16 and year-olds. The law should state that these sections commence operation if a plebiscite is supported by a majority of voters. The federal government should also draft the bill to overcome the greatest defect in holding a plebiscite, namely, that it is not binding and can be ignored by parliamentarians. Australia's system of government is based on the idea that we elect representatives to make laws on our behalf. I can see merit in only one departure from existing practices. Hence, no plebiscite was held before privatising public institutions, introducing the GST, amending the marriage act to introduce no-fault divorce or other controversial policies. The plebiscite bill should contain sections setting out how same-sex marriage could be recognised. If Australia is stuck with holding a plebiscite, the law should at least ensure that its outcome is respected. This should also occur for a plebiscite on same-sex marriage. Or, if the plebiscite fails, the law should state that the provisions are of no effect. The government will need to start from first principles. Leading the way is the Australian Christian Lobby , which wants Australia's anti-discrimination and anti-hate laws to be suspended for the vote. The federal marriage act permits 16 and year-olds to marry where they have the permission of a judge or magistrate. Andrew Meares The problem for Brandis is a lack of useful precedents on how a national plebiscite should be run. It would remove the protection of these laws at the time that they are most needed, leaving people free to poison the public debate. This age group thereby has a stake in the debate, and will be affected by any change.
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