Is there any legal reason why we could not hold the plebiscite on gay marriage at the same time as the election?
Great question! Generally speaking, no there is not.
The Australian Electoral Commission (AEC) is in charge of running plebiscites in Australia. According to the AEC, a plebiscite is an issue put to a vote which does not affect the Australian Constitution. A plebiscite is not defined in the Constitution, the Electoral Act or the Referendum Act. No specific rules exist about the running of a plebiscite.
People voting in a federal election.
Australian Electoral Commission
This photo shows large, purple and white cardboard voting booths in a row. Each booth is screened off from the neighbouring booths. Three people are standing at the booths with their backs to the camera. They are looking down and appear to be writing at the legde of their booths.
Permission should be sought from the Australian Electoral Commission (AEC) for third-party or commercial uses of this image. To contact the AEC email: firstname.lastname@example.org or phone: 13 23 26.