Marriage Equality Protester carrying an Equal Love banner The results of the public opinion poll will not guarantee marriage equality in Australia.

The 2016 federal budget presented yesterday has confirmed that the Australian government will set aside $160 million for a plebiscite on marriage equality.

A plebiscite is a non-binding public poll and certain members of parliament have already publicly said they will still vote “no” even if the majority of Australians vote in favour.

In a statement, Attorney-General George Brandis revealed, “The Government has made provision in the Contingency Reserve of $160 million for the plebiscite on same-sex marriage.”

Although there is overwhelming public support for marriage equality, current Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull has continued with the former PM’s plan to hold a costly and unnecessary plebiscite.

After the announcement, Rodney Croome of Australian Marriage Equality said, “Fairness and equality for all Australians shouldn’t cost a cent.

“The budget has confirmed just how costly a plebiscite will be, and how wasteful given Parliament could pass marriage equality tomorrow.”

This sentiment is held by not only the LGBT community, Croome also pointed out when he stated “Corporate, political and religious leaders, and mental health experts, have all raised concerns about a plebiscite.”

Instead, Croome suggests that the Government “spend this money on essential services instead” and allow for Parliament to have a free vote on the issue.

In defence of the decision, Turnbull said on Radio 7HO Tasmania, “There is no question that it’s not the traditional way of resolving matters like this in Australia, but it was a view taken by the Coalition Party room before I was Prime Minister—but nonetheless it’s a view that we’re committed to and it is thoroughly democratic.”