Cormann must explain $122m wasted on postal vote

10 August 2017

Mathias Cormann must immediately justify how he can waste $122 million of taxpayers’ money on a divisive, harmful and non-binding opinion poll on marriage equality by claiming it is an “unforeseen” expense.


The “Advance to the Finance Minister” provision the Turnbull Government is relying on to force on the postal vote requires the expenditure to be “unforeseen” and an “urgent need”. [Appropriation Bill (No. 1) 2017-18, Part 3]


This issue can hardly be considered unforeseen when the plebiscite is mentioned on p9-6 and p9-11 of Budget Paper No.1 and Peter Dutton flagged a postal ballot back in March.


If the Turnbull Government really did see an “urgent need” to resolve this issue, it would get on with it and allow a free vote in Parliament as soon as possible.


This waste of money is even more astonishing when you consider the mess the Budget is in, with gross debt around half-a-trillion dollars for the first time ever and the deficit for this year 10 times bigger than in the Liberals’ first Budget.


Thousands of couples shouldn’t be held hostage to the internal divisions in the Liberal Party or Malcolm Turnbull’s failure to lead, and Australians shouldn’t have to foot the bill.