Indigenous leaders concerned about plebiscite

Marcia Langton

Indigenous leaders have raised concerns that the government’s handling of the marriage equality plebiscite will have a negative flow-on effect to the referendum on indigenous constitutional recognition.

Professor Marcia Langton has told Fairfax Media that she’s worried that a vitriolic plebiscite campaign would set the tone for the referendum planned for 2017.

“I don’t think it’s good for anybody to have two votes that incite some people in the community to spew hate – and that’s certainly what is going to happen if the government pursues both,” Professor Langton told Fairfax Media.

“There’s enough concern, even in conservative ranks, about the harm that the marriage equality plebiscite will do to decent men and women who don’t deserve to be the targets of stupid, homophobic hate campaigns.”

Professor Langton said the plebiscite discussion would set up a situation which would “unleash the dogs on indigenous people”.

Aboriginal Australians have had a mixed response to the marriage equality debate. LGBTI Indigenous rights group Black Rainbow has been arguing against the plebiscite, but a contingent of indigenous people previously presented a bark petition to Canberra saying indigenous Australians support traditional marriage.

In her maiden speech to parliament last month Labor senator Malarndirri McCarthy called for the government to abandon it’s plans for a nation wide vote on the issue.

Senator McCarthy shared with the parliament that one of her relatives had committed suicide when they were unable to reconcile their sexuality with their strong indigenous culture.

“Please pull back from this brink of public vitriol.”, Senator McCarthy said.

OIP Staff

If you are struggling with anxiety or depression, support and counselling are available;

Lifeline: 13 11 14

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