Same-sex marriage: Parkes MP Mark Coulton to vote in Parliament according to postal ballot result

Parkes MP Mark Coulton has confirmed the result of this year’s same-sex marriage ballot will determine how he votes on the issue in Parliament.

Mr Coulton said he would vote for the status quo in his own postal vote on the issue, but later in Parliament he would be “going with the majority of Australians”, whatever the result was.

“If the Australian people, and I mean all the Australian people, decide in a majority to support same-sex marriage I am on the record as saying that that’s what I will go into the Parliament and vote,” he said.

“There would be no point in having the plebiscite if I said otherwise.

“And I think regardless of where that goes, obviously if they vote against it, that’s what I will do as well.”

This week the Senate rejected a second bid for a compulsory same-sex marriage plebiscite, and the Coalition government adopted its ‘plan B’ for a postal ballot.

Two High Court challenges to the ballot have been launched.

Ballots for the $122 million postal plebiscite are expected to be mailed out to households from September 12 with voters given until November 7 to cast their vote.

A result will be declared on November 15 before the issue returns to Parliament.

Mr Coulton said he was disappointed a regular plebiscite would not be held, but he was supportive of the postal plebiscite.

“Despite what has been said in many quarters, I’ve got a lot of emails from my constituents saying that they feel that they want to have a say on this and they don’t just want to leave it up to me,” he said.

“So it’s not the perfect option, but I’m supportive of where we’ve had to land on it.”

Mr Coulton said it would be disappointing if MPs did not abide by the non-binding ballot’s result.

“I can understand people have very strong views on it but there’s absolutely no point having the postal plebiscite if the Parliament then doesn’t reflect upon that when they go into the House to vote,” he said.

The country is now gearing up for the ballot. 

The Australian Electoral Commission received 68,000 applications to amend address details and from new voters on Thursday.

Mr Coulton urged people, particularly young people, to update their details by the August 24 deadline.

“I think it’s a terrific right that we have in this country, that not every country has where the citizens choose their Parliament and they get to choose on issues like this,” he said.

“But I also believe it’s an obligation as well as a right.

“If you’re an Australian citizen you’re obliged to have your say on this and not leave it up to others because if you leave it up to others, then you can’t complain about the result.”