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Costly plebiscite to pave the way for more expensive opinion polls: Australian Greens

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Robert Simms 10 Feb 2016

The cost of the Government's marriage equality plebiscite is already mounting and could open the door to expensive polls on other issues in the future, warn the Australian Greens.

In response to questions from Greens marriage equality spokesperson Senator Robert Simms during senate estimates last night, the Attorney General Senator George Brandis revealed at least five highly paid staff and external lawyers had been devoted to the project so far.

"This is a project that's already burning through taxpayer funds before it's even got off the ground," Senator Simms said.

"The costs are rapidly skyrocketing and this isn't even taking into account the $160 million price tag of running the plebiscite itself.



"The Attorney General also wouldn't rule out conducting plebiscites on other issues in the future. This could set an alarming precedent, where the authority of the Parliament is ceded to expensive opinion polls. Many Australians would be concerned about this Americanisation of our politics - particularly if questions of human rights are decided in this way.

"The public doesn't want it and within a few weeks we will learn the extra costs associated with this plebiscite, but it's not too late to save taxpayers' money and ditch this expensive poll."

The Attorney General's office is expected to provide costings relating to staff time and legal advice in the coming weeks.

Media Contact: Amy Moran 0417 173 508

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