In Wilkie v. Commonwealth of Australia, (High Ct. Australia, Sept. 7, 2017), Australia’s highest court unanimously upheld the government’s plan to conduct a voluntary survey by mail of the country’s voters on whether same-sex marriage should be legalized. At issue in the case was whether the government acted properly when it used a law permitting expenditures which are urgent and unforeseen to fund the survey. As reported by news.com.au:Ballots with the question, “Should the law be changed to allow same-sex couples to marry?” will be sent to households across the nation on September 12….If a majority of people vote in favour, a vote will then be held in parliament which [Prime Minister Malcolm] Turnbull says he expects will make same-sex marriage legal. If Australians vote no, Mr Turnbull has said the parliamentary vote will not proceed.The postal survey was conceived after Australia’s Senate voted against government sponsored legislation for a binding plebiscite. Interestingly, advocates of marriage equality were among those challenging the plebiscite, arguing that Parliament should legalize same-sex marriage without this preliminary vote. (Marriage Equality Information Sheet). Law
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