Dean Smith
Dean Smith

The openly gay Senator Dean Smith has concerns surrounding the proposed plan.

Western Australian Liberal Senator Dean Smith has raised more questions concerning a plebiscite’s effect on Australia’s democratic culture.

The openly gay senator has expressed concern that a plebiscite on marriage equality could set a precedent to solve other major issues in the same manner.

He said he is “interested in what it does for our democratic culture. Is this a good thing? Is this something we should be considering over the longer term?”

Senator Smith has questioned the government’s proposed plebiscite on marriage equality before. In December 2015, he asked, “Should we be using the approaching centenary of Australia’s first plebiscite as a time to more fully contemplate the dividing line between issues upon which Australians should vote directly and those issues upon which parliamentary representatives should be the arbiters?”

A strong supporter of marriage equality, Senator Smith believes that once the Australian public sees how the plebiscite is set up, they might not be as supportive.

He said, “Once we start to see the detail around what the plebiscite looks like, people will be able to make a judgement call about whether or not it is the right way to proceed.”

He added, “People are growing increasingly concerned about the $160 million price tag. Some people are concerned about whether the debate can be managed well by the Australian community.”

The Senator has also commented that he does not want to see any public funding for either side of the campaign if the plebiscite is executed.

Although he would like to see marriage equality resolved with a vote in parliament, Senator Smith is not actively encouraging his party to drop the plebiscite.