Western Australians want marriage equality without a costly plebiscite

A new Galaxy poll shows that almost 60% of Western Australians want marriage equality to be a reality.

The poll which was commissioned by The Sunday Times asked respondents how they would vote if a plebiscite was held today and 59% said they would be in favour of same-sex couples being allowed to marry.

Thirty three percent of people were opposed and 9% described themselves as uncommitted.

Regardless of whether people supported the Liberal or Labor party, changing the laws had the higher level of support. Forty nine per cent of Coalition voters supported marriage equality, 41% were against and 10% undecided.

Labor voters overwhelmingly supported same-sex marriage with 71% voicing support for change and only 22% opposed and 7% uncommitted.

Second poll shows Western Australians don’t support the plebiscite

A second poll, conducted by the Equality campaign, shows that Western Australians overwhelmingly do not support the plebiscite proposal put forward by the Turnbull government.

ReachTel conducted a poll on July 20th and asked people the following question.

“The Government has estimated that a plebiscite will cost the Australian taxpayer $170 million. Do you think this is a good use of public funds?”

Almost 70% of people said the plebiscite was a waste of tax payers funds. Both Labor voters (73.8 per cent) and Liberal voters (68.1 per cent) were against a plebiscite.

Speaking to OUTinPerth Tiernan Brady from the Equality campaign said it was clear that the proposal to hold a plebiscite was a bad idea.

“This poll tells us what supporters of marriage equality already know. A plebiscite is a bad idea that people don’t support.

“When people think about how much its going to cost they realise it’s a ridiculous waste of money.”

“It tells us that a non-binding plebiscite, where MPs and senators are already saying they won’t obey it, is a nonsense.

“So its now an opinion poll that has no bearing on what MPs vote afterwards, it’s going to cost $200 million dollars, at the same time we’ve had ten years of opinion polls that have told us very clearly that Australian people have made there mind up on this issue long ago.”

Brady said the latest polls showed that Liberal and National voters thought the idea was a waste of money and it was time that MPs caught up with the public views.

“The public are past this, they want this done, they want parliament to their job and it doesn’t need a $200 million dollar opinion poll.”

Brady said politicians should realise that that the people are telling them that they’re going the wrong way about doing their business.

“Australia makes it decisions about the dignity, and status, and rights of people, in parliament.

“If you take one group of people and say ‘Actually, your rights have to be decided by public vote’, ‘your rights have to be decided by a higher bar’, ‘you have to meet a higher standard’. Then your telling all of Australia something really terrible about LGBTI people.

“You are saying that they are not automatically deserving of the same rights as you, by the same means as you, that they have to reach a higher barrier. I am firmly of the belief that people don’t think that’s true.”

Brady said it was important to remember that the only people calling for a plebiscite were those opposed to allowing LGBTI people to marry.

“Any pretense now that the plebiscite is a mechanism for making a decision on marriage equality is gone. We can see that now, because our elected members are saying that they won;t vote for it, even if its passed. So this is for nothing.”

Earlier this week the Liberal’s Slade Brockman, who will replace outgoing Western Australian Senator Chris Back, announced he would vote against marriage equality in parliament even if the plebiscite result indicated the people wanted the laws to be changed.

Tiernan Brady said the plebiscite was never anything ore than a stalling tactic.

“The plebiscite was always a stalling tactic. It was designed by people who are against marriage equality as a way tio prevent marriage equality. Whatever for the plebiscite takes, that is true now, and the pubic can see it.”

Marriage Equality likely to be on the agenda when parliament returns

The issue of marriage equality will remain at the forefront of political discussion when parliament returns from it’s winter recess.

Liberal senator Dean Smith is working on a private members bill for marriage equality and is pushing for a free vote on the issue. Senator Smith told The Sunday Times he hopes to present the bill to colleagues before the end of the year.

“People are constantly telling me they want the issue resolved sooner rather than later.

“The cheapest and easiest way is to allow a free vote in the Parliament and then move on to other important issues such as GST reform.” Senator Smith said.

Graeme Watson 

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