The same-sex marriage referendum caravan has meandered into the home straight and, barring a successful High Court challenge, Australian opinion pollsters will soon be grappling with estimating voter turnout by demographic, as overseas counterparts have for decades. The ballots will be sent out in early September and the final results announced in mid November.
What started life as a stratagem to save prime minister Tony Abbott’s job has survived a change of prime minister and an election, its gratuitousness driving its dysfunction. Once conservative MPs began announcing that (a) it was imperative this plebiscite be held, yet (b) they personally wouldn’t be bound by the result in the subsequent parliamentary vote, it had devolved well into farce.
Yes, this fiasco is a waste of money, but at an estimated $120 million it’s not expensive as far as political stunts go.