On 19 September 2017, The Rev. Fred Nile MLC posed a question to the government before the NSW Upper House on the topic of the same-sex “marriage” survey, specifically concerning issues relating to its integrity.
Asking a question to the government is an opportunity for Ministers to be kept accountable. Questions can be asked either by government MPs (in which case they can be used to allow a Minister to put recent government or Ministerial activity on the record) or the Opposition (in which case they are usually drafted to highlight some perceived inadequacy on part of the government).
A question can, of course, also be asked by a member of the cross-bench, such as an MP from a minor party. Since the Christian Democratic Party has two members in the Upper House, it is holds the balance of power and uses question time to highlight important social and other issues. A copy of Rev. Nile’s question from 19 September, and the answer given, is extracted below.
QUESTION TO THE GOVERNMENT
MARRIAGE EQUALITY PLEBISCITE
Reverend the Hon. FRED NILE ( 16:22 :18 ):
My question is directed to the Leader of the House, the Hon. Don Harwin, Minister for Resources, Minister for Energy and Utilities, and Minister for the Arts. Is it a fact that some Australia Post workers have declared that they have a right to not handle the postal ballots for the upcoming vote to redefine marriage, as they find no votes offensive? Is it a fact that one can easily determine how a vote has been cast by shining a torch behind the return envelope? As the upcoming postal vote is voluntary it will, therefore, be impossible to conclusively determine whether or not—or how many—votes have been intercepted. Will the Government therefore communicate these concerns to the Commonwealth Government to ensure the integrity of the postal vote process?
The Hon. DON HARWIN (Minister for Resources, Minister for Energy and Utilities, and Minister for the Arts) ( 16:23 :08 ):
I am happy to attempt an answer to that question. I am pretty sure that it is not a matter with which, in any way, the New South Wales Government is officially connected or about which it is able to do anything other than make a representation. I would hope that all Australia Post workers would do their duty and deliver those envelopes to letterboxes and, once they are posted in post boxes, collect them and process them so that this matter can be dealt with and so that a result can be known. I am sure all honourable members know what I am hoping the result will be. I hope that this matter can be resolved and that all of Australia can have the Christmas present it wants in relation to this matter.
Media inquiries: Rev. Fred Nile MLC: (02) 9230 2478
The Rev. The Hon. Fred Nile MLC