The government’s same-sex marriage postal survey will go ahead after a High Court challenge failed.
The full bench of the High Court found the finance minister did have the power to fund the $122 million voluntary survey in the way he did.
The decision means the postal forms can be mailed from Tuesday as planned.
Upon hearing the court’s decision while in question time, Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull told parliament every Australian will now have their say on the issue.
“That is as it should be. We encourage every Australian to vote in this survey, to have their say,” he said.
Two groups of same-sex marriage advocates tried to stop the postal survey, arguing the government should not have bypassed parliament in funding it.
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The government found the $122 million by using laws to make an advance payment to the finance minister in circumstances where there is an urgent need for spending and the situation was unforeseen.
The challengers argued the spending was neither urgent nor unforeseen, two key requirements for advancing money from the pool of funds that can be used without parliamentary approval.
The court unanimously dismissed the first challenge by a group of advocates led by independent MP Andrew Wilkie.
A second challenge led by Australian Marriage Equality was dealt with, but the High Court declared the finance minister’s determination was not invalid and he did have the authorisation to make it.
The voluntary survey was the government’s plan B after the Senate blocked the compulsory plebiscite promised by the coalition at the 2016 election.
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