NFP High Court Challenge to Same-Sex Marriage Postal Vote
Thursday, 10th August 2017 at 4:54 pm
Not-for-profit legal centre, the Public Interest Advocacy Centre (PIAC), has commenced proceedings in the High Court, in a bid to stop the federal government going ahead with the postal vote on same sex marriage.
PIAC is representing Tasmanian independent MP Andrew Wilkie, LGBTI group Parents and Friends of Lesbians and Gays (PFLAG) and Felicity Marlowe, a mother in a same-sex relationship with three young children, in the court challenge.
The case has been listed for an urgent hearing on 5 and 6 September, with further directions made by the court for the filing of materials and submissions prior to the hearing.
“We will be arguing that by going ahead without the authorisation of parliament, the government is acting beyond its power,” PIAC CEO, Jonathon Hunyor said.
‘We will argue that the government cannot validly undertake a postal vote and also that it cannot fund the exercise without parliamentary approval.
“These are important issues about the way that power is exercised by governments and the role of parliament in our democracy.”
PFLAG national spokesperson Shelley Argent said: “PFLAG is taking this case because the parents of LGBTI Australians don’t want to see our children subject to such a demeaning, hate-filled and pointless vote that will go nowhere and resolve nothing.”
Felicity Marlowe said about the postal vote campaign: “I am worried about the impact the public campaign will have on my children, on my partner and all rainbow families across Australia.
“It will be a full-time occupation for the next three months for my partner and I to protect my children from the flyers delivered to our home stating that ‘children need a mother and a father – so vote no to marriage equality’, or to stop them seeing any billboards or posters in our local shopping centre or along the major roads we take to school every morning.”
Andrew Wilkie said: “I have consistently advocated against executive overreach of the kind we see with the postal vote on marriage equality.
“Parliament should decide if, when and how the people are consulted, and how it’s paid for,” he said.
At a preliminary hearing in the High Court the government agreed that it would not post out any papers in the same-sex postal vote before 12 September, to allow this case to be heard.