Australian Senate defeats Turnbull government’s same-sex marriage plebiscite bill

For more information, see: https://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2016/nov/07/marriage-equality-plebiscite-bill-set-to-fail-as-nxt-vows-to-block-it-in-senate

This was a more sensible outcome, one might argue, than the Bermuda Government’s decision to hold a non-binding referendum in June 2016, which was (a) subjected to a legal challenge before the Supreme Court of Bermuda, and then (b) invalidated due to an insufficient voter turnout.

As the Australian Senate recognised, there is a compelling legal, political, and moral argument that minority rights should not be decided by majority vote by way of referendum or plebiscite.

Indeed, the role of a referendum in a parliamentary and constitutional democracy begs a whole host of unresolved legal and constitutional questions, as the UK’s Brexit Referendum vividly demonstrates.

This is a topic worthy of further discussion in Bermuda, especially when one bears in mind that the PLP’s recent Response to the Bermuda Government’s Throne Speech includes the following throw-away line, buried deep within it: “The next PLP government will enact legislation that allows Bermudians to initiate referenda“.

 

 

 

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