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Going postal over marriage equality

Going postal over marriage equality

Australia House, where more than 15,000 ballots were cast in the 2013 election, has had a "handful of inquiries" from Australians asking how they can cast their vote in the same-sex marriage plebiscite, says Prue Loney, communications adviser for the Australian high commission.

Pollster Martin O'Shannessy said a market researcher would be able to provide a more accurate picture of Australians' attitudes toward gay marriage through telephone polling for less than $AU1.2 million.

City of Sydney Councillor Christine Forster-who is also the sister of Tony Abbott-appeared on The Project on Wednesday night to point out the flaws in the postal vote.

Despite majority support for marriage equality, Australia trails behind many Western nations, including the United States, Germany, England, Ireland and Canada, in retaining a traditional legal definition of marriage.

He has written to Malcolm Turnbull inviting the prime minister to co-sign a letter to every Australian in support of a "yes" vote.

"Here is the workers' party saying to their parliamentary representatives that if you don't tow the line, we'll sack you".

Mr Abbott told Parliament: "If you're anxious about religious freedom, and freedom of speech, vote "no" because voting "no" will help to stop political correctness in its tracks".

"It's exposing our children to that kind of hatred".

But if the public voted overwhelmingly to legalise gay marriage, Mr Abbott said he would respect the result.

Labor senator Penny Wong delivered an emotional speech on same-sex marriage in the Senate

"We can't ask for equality and then not extend that same entitlement to other people within our own community even if their beliefs are different to my own", she said.

"There is real risk that LGBTI Australians will be subjected to a well-organised well-funded campaign of vitriol and prejudice".

"The focus groups this week the Fairfax group are running said that you are weak and Bill Shorten is a snake", Mitchell put to the PM in a wide-ranging chat on Friday morning.

Marriage equality lobbyist Tiernan Brady, executive director of The Equality Campaign, said Mr Abbott's comments were created to deliberately deceive the public.

But a postal plebiscite, unlike a regular vote in Australia, is non-compulsory, non-binding and open to legal challenge.

Or if the suffragettes had decided fighting for women's rights was simply too hard.

If the Senate again blocks the plebiscite, the government intends to hold a voluntary postal plebiscite by November 15.

Announced by the Minister for Finance, Senator Mathias Cormann, the arrangements for fulfilling the Treasurer's direction will be determined by the Australian Statistician.

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