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Federal Politics

07 Sep 2017

Federal Politics Image

Marriage equality – Let’s get it done

The Bureau of Statistics (ABS) postal opinion survey on marriage equality is not what Australians wanted, envisaged or expected.

It was not even part of the Coalitions policy last election. Even 80 per cent of the ABS staff think they are not up to it.

Unfortunately, however, this $122 million survey is more about a prime minister who can’t take the country forward without his backbench revolting against him.

Labor supports a free vote in parliament on marriage equality. Bill Shorten has introduced a Marriage Equality Bill. He has even said Labor would vote for Liberal Senator Dean Smith’s Bill. Even though an ABS opinion survey is not our way of addressing this issue, Labor stand with the LGBTI community and will be campaigning for a yes vote on the ABS poll.

Malcolm Turnbull seems to believe that this is all about him – that it provides him with an opportunity to talk about how he thinks himself to be a “strong leader”. Labor understands the marriage equality issue is bigger than any one’s political fate. Even if that person is the PM.

Labor recognises this is about community, about thousands of members of our society who only seek a human right that the rest of society enjoy. A right to be treated equally isn’t something you should need to ask for.

Despite all the hurdles the current government has put up, the community now needs to pass a ridiculous public survey on marriage equality.

Anthony Albanese and I have for more than 15 years been standing up for the LGBTI community and I have been discussing the rights of same sex couples in parliament since 1998. I was very pleased to second legislation Albo moved to remove all discriminatory clauses discriminating against LGBTI community as part of the 2007-2013 Labor government. So it will come as no surprise that I will be voting yes and campaigning for a yes vote.

Accross Melbourne Ports we are blessed with Labor and other councillors from our four local governments – Port Phillip, Glen Eira, Stonnington and City of Melbourne – that are all active supporters of our vibrant LGBTI community.

St Kilda is also to be home to Australia’s first equality centre, just a few doors down from my Fitzroy St electorate office. The centre will provide a venue for the LGBTI community to plan, perform reach-out services and organise community campaigns to improve equality outcomes. This centre was funded by the Andrew’s Labor State government, and announced by Martin Foley, Member for Albert Park and Minister for Equality, just three months ago.

Even if the yes result postal poll result is ignored by the members of the Turnbull government in parliament and even if those Liberal MPs promising to cross the floor and support a free vote don’t, Bill Shorten and Labor have promised to make marriage equality a reality within 100 days of taking office.

While other parties offer gagged debates, delay tactics and expensive polling, a Shorten Labor government will see marriage equality legislated.

The Melbourne Ports LGBTI Community deserves nothing less.

Please join with me in voting “yes” for it.

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