Turnbull's Office Rejects Timeline on Same-Sex Union Plebiscite

Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull’s office refused to tie itself down to a timeline for holding a plebiscite on same-sex marriage, The Sydney Morning Herald reported, citing an unidentified spokeswoman at the prime minister’s office.

Turnbull was responding to comments by Attorney-General George Brandis who told Sky News television earlier in the day that the ruling Liberal-National coalition would make a promise to hold the vote before the end of the year during an upcoming election campaign. The spokeswoman at the prime minister’s office said the government was committed to holding the plebiscite “as soon after the election as can be done,” according to the report Sunday.

“We will be going to the election promising a plebiscite before the end of the year,” Brandis said in the Sky interview. “In the event there were to be a yes vote in the plebiscite, the government will introduce amendments to the marriage act to give effect to it.”

Turnbull has said that an election is likely to be held between August and October.

The Australian Electoral Commission had last year said that a plebiscite on the issue of same-sex marriage should not be rushed, according to the Herald report. The commission also said in a written submission that it would need 29 weeks to prepare if such a poll were held in conjunction with a Federal election, according to the newspaper report.

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