Same Sex Marriage, Revisited

Same Sex Marriage, Revisited

It’s the issue that simply won’t go away. Now that the High Court has ruled, allowing the postal ‘vote’ to go ahead, we’re inching that much closer to closure. One way or another.

Though we haven’t yet reviewed the High Court’s decision (coincidentally, its site is down for maintenance), the Court’s decision will almost certainly have far-reaching and much broader ramifications.

How so?

For those of you that have not been following the machinations, here’s a very quick rundown:

  • The government’s plan for a plebiscite could not pass the Senate;
  • As an alternative, the government decided to commission the Australian Bureau of Statistics to survey the Australian population – ie. the postal ‘vote’;
  • Because the government could not get its plan through the Senate, rather than passing a law to appropriate funds to pay for the ‘vote’ (as would usually be required), the government is relying upon an emergency fund set aside for urgent and unforeseen spending;
  • The issue before the High Court was that the ‘vote’ was neither urgent, nor unforeseen, and therefore the government seeking to use it to pay for the ‘vote’ was not authorised by the constitution and, therefore, unlawful.

The Court has handed down its decision allowing the government to fund the ‘vote’.

This decision probably gives this, and future, governments more latitude in the way funds are appropriated and spent. The Court’s reasoning will be a very interesting read, indeed.