Marriage equality advocates vow to fight revived plebiscite plan

Marriage equality advocates have slammed the Liberal party’s decision to maintain their policy of holding a plebiscite on marriage equality.

Following a party room meeting the Liberal MPs voted to resubmit their failed plebiscite policy to the senate, adding the threat of rolling out a postal plebiscite if the opposition and crossbench don’t pass the legislation.

Alex Greenwich, the co-chair of Australian Marriage Equality (AME), said the government had opted to put up a failed policy, followed by the threat of a flawed policy.

“Yet again they have proposed their concept of a plebiscite, this is a failed policy. They have also discussed the postal plebiscite, this is a flawed policy.

“The only way we can achieve marriage equality in this parliament is through a vote in parliament, a majority in both houses.

“There will be disappointment felt from coast to coast tonight in Australia, as the government has yet again decided to delay, drag on and disappoint people with their decision today.”

Greenwich said the government had the opportunity to resolve the long running debate but had chosen to drag out the issue, despite the legislation being destined to fail once again.

“The numbers in the senate are not changing. The Greens, Labor and crossbenchers will still be opposing.” Greenwich said.

AME’s co-chair said the only outcome there would be from a second debate on the plebiscite legislation would be Australians being reminded of what a terrible idea it was.

Alex Greenwich said the Liberal MPs who tried to solve the impasses should be respected, and that as time went on there would only be more MPs coming around to their point of view.

Anna Brown, who is a co-chair of Australian Marriage Equality and the Director of Legal Advocacy at the Human Rights Law Centre (HRLC) said the government’s decision was heartbreaking.

“Today the government has broken the hearts of gay and lesbian people around Australia.

“We have before a policy that failed last year, a policy that will fail again when the government tries to pass this legislation through the senate, and them embarks upon a course that will end in a High Court challenge.” Brown said.

Brown said the postal plebiscite plan was a proposal that was not only legally more risky that a legislative plebiscite but also carried risks around privacy and reliability of process. The marriage equality advocate argued that the postal voting process would be geared towards favouring the opinions of older Australians.

Anna Brown vowed to launch legal action against a postal plebiscite saying there was great concern that tax payer dollars would be spent on a proposal  fundamentally flawed.

Tiernan Brady, from the Equality campaign said the day had brought lots of politics and drama but the campaign for marriage equality was about real people’s lives.

“We shouldn’t lose sight of what this is really about, despite all the politics and drama of today, this is about real people. Members of our families, and friends, our neighbours and our colleagues.

“They have watched as politics trumped their dignity once again. They watched as they were considered to be sacrificial lambs for the case of stability, and they’ll have watched in exasperation as well.”

Brady said the people who passionately wanted marriage equality would not be going away, nor would they be quietly waiting for the government to take action.

OIP Staff

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