Australians must demand to be respected by politicians for a plebiscite on marriage

Australians must demand to be respected by politicians for a plebiscite on marriage

By Paul Monagle
National President of the Australian Family Association
August 30th 2016

The Turnbull government has a mandate for a plebiscite on marriage. Those opposing the plebiscite are engaging in hypocrisy.

A Fairfax-Ipsos poll found that “A thumping 69 per cent majority of voters backed the idea of having their say on the issue, rather than a parliamentary vote,” reported the Sydney Morning Herald on July 1, 2016, just before the Federal election.

A plebiscite costing $160 million is just 0.04% of the Federal government’s $400 billion budget, while the ABC gets around $1.1 billion annually of taxpayer funds from the Federal government; that’s over seven times the cost of a plebiscite, and it is paid to the ABC each year!

There will be no resolution of the issue until Australian’s vote on the issue after a full public debate.

A parliamentary vote won’t provide a lasting solution. There have already been 16 bills before Federal parliament. Each time one is unsuccessful another one is moved. Regardless of what decision the parliament makes, this is such a deep and important issue, that if the people do not have a say there will be festering dissent and disaffection, with even more marriage bills in the future, costing more time and more money.

Labor leader Bill Shorten says that a plebiscite would be “a taxpayer-funded platform for homophobia”.

Bill Shorten is flip flopping. Just before the Federal election Mr Shorten told a forum in his own seat of Maribyrnong that he was “completely relaxed about having some form of plebiscite… I would rather that the people of Australia could make their view clear on this, than leaving this issue to 150 people,” he said.

The plebiscite is not binding – “It’s just an opinion poll”
The vast majority of parliamentarians would respect the will of the people and it is the only practical democratic tool to resolve the issue in the current environment.

“A plebiscite would ‘unleash hate’ and lead to suicide”
This is a desperate, very irresponsible argument sending a dangerous message to young people that opponents of same-sex marriage hate gays and lesbians; and that in such a climate of hatred the suicide of some people is inevitable.

GLBT people have a higher suicide rate than the rest of the community.
So do indigenous people. Since the Federal Department of Health warns that “the suicide rate among Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples [is] twice that of non-Indigenous people”, should we cancel the planned referendum for recognising indigenous people in the preamble of the Australian constitution for fear that the debate could be a platform for racists?

Turnbull has broken his promise of a plebiscite this year.
Those claiming Turnbull has broken his promise are the same people campaigning against a same-sex marriage plebiscite. Isn’t that hypocrisy?

Many of the same-sex marriage activists making this claim are the same people who praised Ireland for having a referendum on marriage.

Rodney Croome, from Just.Equality and former Australian Marriage Equality convener, praised last year’s Irish referendum saying it “will inspire marriage equality supporters … and quash the myth that Catholics and other people of faith oppose marriage equality.”

Grainne Healy, from Australian Marriage Equality and formerly of the Irish Yes Equality Campaign, didn’t regard the Irish referendum as a platform for homophobia and division. Rather, just after the Irish referendum: “Today we woke up, smiling, in a changed Ireland. A kinder, gentler, more accepting Ireland.”

Tiernan Brady and Grainne Healty, both from Australian Marriage Equality and both formerly of the Irish Yes Equality campaign, said the Irish referendum was an affirmation of the Irish people that was critical in reshaping Irish culture: “This touching — this uplifting — outcome belongs to the Irish people… The Irish people have shown their compassion … The majority said one simple word; for a minority, that word means everything.”

Greens senator Sarah Hanson-Young said of the Irish referendum, it was “very exciting to see Ireland embrace equality,” yet the Greens party says an Australian plebiscite would just “unleash bigots”.

ACTION:

Hand written letters to your Senators are best or try to visit them.  If not, can you make a call to their electoral offices?

Focus on Labor, Xenophon Team and other crossbench Senators from your state/territory.

Also include an email to the Leader of the Opposition, Mr Shorten. Bill.Shorten.mp@aph.gov.au

Please write to your papers several times over next 2-3 weeks:

Herald Sun here

Sydney Morning Herald letters@smh.com.au

Daily Telegraph (NSW) here

The Age here

The Australian letters@theaustralian.com.au

The Adelaide Advertiser here

The Courier Mail here

Hobart Mercury here

Canberra Times letters.editor@canberratimes.com.au

The West Australian letters@wanews.com.au

Sincerely,

Paul Monagle
National President
Australian Family Association