Something fishy about PwC's plebiscite price tag

Peter Kurti

24 March 2016 | Ideas@TheCentre

same sex marriage equality 1Former Prime Minister Tony Abbott promised to settle the marriage equality issue democratically by allowing voters to state their views in a national plebiscite later this year.

Malcolm Turnbull has committed to honour that promise — unless he is intimidated into silencing the Australian people, and scuppers the plebiscite plan altogether.

A new report from PricewaterhouseCoopers puts a price tag on each of the options for consulting the Australian people on the future of one of our society’s fundamental institutions.

Leaving it to the pollies is the cheapest option — $17 million according to PwC. And a stand-alone plebiscite with a compulsory vote on same-sex marriage is the most expensive at $525 million.

If it looks like fish and smells like fish, it probably is fish. And this report from PwC definitely has a fishy pong to it. Especially when you add in the estimated $20 million bill for mental health costs.

Scare tactics are being used by same-sex marriage advocates desperate to keep the issue well away from the voters. Suddenly a plebiscite is said to be a waste of time and money.

72% of Australians support marriage equality, according to Australian Marriage Equality’s website. But if that is true, why worry about letting Australians have their say?

It’s not to save money that the advocates want to shut down public debate about changing the meaning of marriage. It’s because they’re worried they might lose a plebiscite vote.

So rather than trust the integrity and decency of the Australian public, advocates would rather silence the people and leave it to the elites to stitch up a deal.

Democracy has a price well worth paying; in fact, it’s a price we must always be prepared to pay. Marriage equality advocates may well be on the side of the angels with justice on their side.

But unless they place their trust in the hands of the Australian voters and allow the people to decide on marriage equality, the advocates will never quite dispel the stench of a fishy fix-up.

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