By Andrew Woodward, Bellinger River Branch, President
15 November 2017
Marriage equality – Just do it
Now that the majority of Australians have said ‘yes’ to marriage equality, it is incumbent on all parliamentarians to expedite the vote in parliament on approving changes to the marriage act allowing same sex couples to legally marry in Australia.
It has cost taxpayers $120 million to be told what we already knew and that was that the majority of Australians support marriage equality. That money could have been better spent on, for example, programs combatting domestic violence; helping people deal with depression and anxiety or, addressing disadvantage in rural and regional areas. Instead, we spent $120 million answering a question the Liberal and National parties couldn’t answer for themselves. All the survey did was reinforce just how out-of-touch the Liberal and National parties really are.
It is time to move on from the farce of the survey. Now that we have an unambiguous result and a draft bill, there should be no blocking, no delaying and no further detailed debate about making a very simple change to the marriage act. There are no excuses. Spurious arguments should be ignored. Delaying tactics should be condemned. Malcolm Turnbull must stand up to his recalcitrants within. Parliamentarians must be held accountable.
The Member for Cowper, Luke Hartsuyker, has previously said he is opposed to marriage equality – denying all Australians the same human rights as each other. Mr Hartsuyker now has a chance to put his personal biases aside, listen to the people and deliver human rights for all Australians by supporting change to the marriage act. He can earn a place in history as someone who changed Australia for the better and set an example for other nations around the world to follow. Or history can record him as someone who denied a basic human right to his fellow Australians and against their wishes. That would be shameful.
As late as this week, Mr Hartsuyker was one of a handful of Australia’s 200 plus federal parliamentarians who didn’t bother responding to a survey by the ABC on how they would vote in the event a majority of Australians supported marriage equality. The fact that the ABC recorded Mr Hartsuyker as “Did not respond” is an embarrassment to the electorate and contemptible personal behaviour. We deserve better. Of those that replied, 72 per cent of lower house members and 69 per cent of upper house members said they would support a change to the marriage act delivering equality. Wouldn’t it be great if it was 100 per cent. What a unifying message that would send to Australia and around the world.
The people of Australia have spoken. The people of Cowper have spoken. The majority of Australians have said yes. Our parliamentarians should say yes too. That’s the honourable thing to do and bring marriage equality to all Australians.
Updated: 15 November 2017