The government’s attempt to restore the compulsory plebiscite bill has been blocked by the Senate, paving the way for a voluntary postal vote. The plebiscite was to be held on November 25 with the government offering to remove the $15m of public funds for the yes and no cases. On Wednesday morning the government attempted to restore the plebiscite bill to the Senate notice paper. Labor, the Greens and Nick Xenophon Team used their numbers in the Senate to block the attempt to revisit it, with Derryn Hinch voting to allow debate but committing to block the plebiscite. With the compulsory plebiscite rejected again, the government will now attempt to fall back on its Plan B of a voluntary postal ballot to be conducted between 12 September and 15 November.
Earlier, Tony Abbott urged Australians to vote against marriage equality, arguing that a no vote would protect religious freedom and “stop political correctness in its tracks”.
The former prime minister hit the ground running in the campaign against same-sex marriage at a doorstop on Wednesday, in contrast to Malcolm Turnbull who said on Tuesday he would “certainly support a yes vote … but I have many other calls [on] my time”.