Bob Hawke has blasted Malcolm Turnbull over the same-sex marriage plebiscite, saying no PM has ever made a worse financial decision.

By Joe McDonough


Posted on October 4, 2017

Prime Minister Malcom Turnbull says the high participation numbers on the same-sex marriage postal plebiscite is validation that the Liberal Party made the right call asking the Australian public to have its say. But while he was patting himself on the back, Bob Hawke was hauling him over the coals.

Can you imagine a Prime Minister would make a decision in these stringent times, spending $122 million on a process that can’t produce the result?

By Friday afternoon, the Australian Bureau of Statistics had received approximately 9.2 million ballots, or 57.5% of the forms it had sent out. And with the ballot open until November 7, that number should rise.

Speaking on ABC radio today, the PM took the opportunity to praise the Coalition’s push for a plebiscite on the issue. “I think it is a ringing endorsement of the government’s decision to give every Australian their say on this issue,” he said.

But there has been plenty of backlash over the plebiscite from both sides of the campaign, as it’s essentially a $122 million tax-payer funded survey, which cannot directly enact change.

Opposition leader Bill Shorten continued his criticism of the process, saying the substantial outlay could’ve been better spent. But that was quickly overshadowed by comments from former Prime Minister Bob Hawke, who launched a scathing attack on Turnbull today at the National Press Club.

“Without any question the worst economic decision made by any Australian Prime Minister since federation”, he said of the plebiscite. “It still requires a vote of the parliament, whatever the result of the vote is… It costs 122 million bloody dollars. Can you imagine a Prime Minister would make a decision in these stringent times, spending $122 million on a process that can’t produce the result?”

There have also been questions raised over the security of the postal survey, as people have taken to social media to gloat about voting multiple times, envelopes being translucent, forms being sold on eBay and Gumtree, and even stacks of envelopes being dumped.

If you have yet to receive your ballot, you can request a replacement up until October 20 through the ABS website, and any previous entries in your name will become invalid.