In this post I want to focus on the current issues that surround the Australian plebiscite into whether or not same-sex marriage will become a reality in 2017. I want to look at the steps and where this will potentially lead as well as the effects that we may see stem from this. It is no secret that I think this is the most ridiculous method to decide whether Australia will pursue marriage equality, but through this post we will actually see why I am so critical of this plebiscite. This video that I have also added below gives you an idea of where I stand on this issue. I will also be adding some images that have been used by the ‘NO’ campaign, so I apologise in advance for graphic images that you may see.
So let’s begin with the basics, on August the 7th it was decided that we would pursue a plebiscite to decide whether or not same-sex marriage should be legalised. This of course is the same method that failed to get approval through the senate in 2016, so Malcolm Turnbull has tried to get this through the senate again and unsurprisingly failed yet again. Below I will begin by explaining my main reasons for being so against this plebiscite.
1 . Not legally binding
Our second option is a postal plebiscite, a process that not only will potentially cost up to $122 million if not more but frustratingly is an advisory plebiscite. So if the result is a resounding yes the government do not have to do anything about it, this is a glorified survey that has a hefty price tag and no legal binding at all. The government could essentially look at the results and not act on this, they could completely disregard what the majority of Australians want and continue with what they wish to do, which at this point is obviously to leave marriage as it is.
2 . The Cost
As I touched on in the point above this plebiscite could potentially cost in excess of $122 million, that is money that could be used for so many other, highly important things. Now if you think that is a lot of money, you’d be correct, whats worse is there are many sources that are actually stating it could be as high as $525 million. “Consultants PwC have put the full cost of a plebiscite at $525 million, made up of $160 million for the ballot itself, $66 million to fund the “yes” and “no” cases, and $281 million in lost productivity.” That is well and truly more than we’ve been told and it will be the taxpayer that will foot the large majority of this cost. The most frustrating part is that this could all be avoided if politicians did what they are paid to do and what we elected them for, there are many decisions that we would love to be part of but the fact is that we elect politicians to act on our behalf. Here is an idea on what $122 million could fund if we were to use the money in other areas.
3. Respectful Debate?
For this point I am going to let a video and a few pictures do the talking as they are much more convincing. I will however state that this is especially harmful for both campaigns, those who are religious are being labelled as bigots or ignorant. Now I have a huge issue with this as it is counterproductive to the yes campaign when they are constantly attacking others for having a different opinion, but it is also completely against free speech and I have had to explain so many times to people that free speech and opinions are free for everyone to have and share.
This however is a double edge sword when people exercise free speech for spreading hateful and harmful information. Both sides have failed at keeping this respectful but there is one factor in the ‘NO’ campaign that I simply can’t stand and that is the blatant pushing of information that has been made to belittle and hurt the other side. It has been anything from likening the children of same-sex couples as ‘the stolen generation’, stating our equal rights will open up the legality of beastiality and the abuse that is apparently so much higher than that of our heterosexual counterparts. This information isn’t factual and is made to harm our community and that simply is not right in any way and it is a huge reason why I believe that a respectful debate is not possible.
The above images are just some of the interesting takes on why gay marriage should not be legal and as I stated before I do apologise if these images make you a bit uncomfortable, but look at some of the things we have to see on social media or at the train station on a daily basis. I want to leave you with a video from Penny Wong who addresses the topic of children and the respectful debate, she speaks about this perfectly and really remains on top throughout the entire speech even though whats been said is highly offensive and downright rude. This video will also show Penny speaking about the re-introduction of this bill on the 8th of August.