The High Court in Melbourne has begun hearing two challenges to the validity of the proposed postal survey for same-sex marriage.
Marriage equality advocates are trying to stop the postal survey by arguing that the $122 million needed to run the survey, given as an advance payment to the finance minister, does not fit the category of either ‘urgent’ or ‘unforeseen’ as required by law.
“The postal plebiscite has big questions marks around its legal validity,” Anna Brown of the Human Rights Law Centre told Sky News on Tuesday.
“The government is exceeding its power by trying to conduct the postal vote, exceeding its power by trying to spend $122 million without parliamentary approval,” Independent MP Andrew Wilkie told ABC radio.
Constitutional experts believe that the postal survey could be found unconstitutional because the court has previously found governments need parliamentary approval to spend taxpayers’ money.
However, after day the end of Tuesday’s hearing, many of the marriage equality advocate arguments have been challenged by the courts seven judges.
The case continues tomorrow, with the court under pressure to deliver a quick verdict, as survey letters are due to be sent to Australian households from next Tuesday.