Just because the federal government won’t do their job, doesn’t mean we stop doing ours.
Make sure you join the tens of thousands of Australians venting their frustration at a postal vote plebiscite by enrolling to vote, updating your details today, and telling all your friends and family to do the same.
This starts with making sure you and all your friends and family are being counted and are on the electoral role. Enrol and update now at www.aec.gov.au/enrol.
Ian Thorpe joined the Equality Campaign on the weekend at Sydney’s City to Surf where we signed up lots of new voters and ensured people had their most recent address on the role. People felt let down by the government, but ready to stand up for fairness and equality and make sure they were ready to vote.
We met Bel Hopkinson who just turned 18 just a few weeks ago, and said to us that marriage equality is the reason she made sure she was on the electoral role, she said she wanted all Australians to be “afforded the same rights and dignity, so that they may live their lives and follow their passions free of discrimination. Let’s make our generation known for its activism and compassion”.
Bel’s words are very important as the latest official figures showed that around 250,000 people between the ages of 18 and 24 are not enrolled to vote. This age group is also the most likely to support marriage equality.
Obviously the current situation is disappointing, the history of the Liberal party shows that all their members should have a free vote, and we know if that was the case we would have marriage equality this week.
During the Howard years there were five conscience votes, 20 members of the current Federal Government have voted according to their conscience at a certain point in their careers, including ten Cabinet Ministers.
The government may be re-writing history, but we must make history and continue to break records for voter enrolment.
We cannot underestimate the impact the announcement of the postal plebiscite has had on supporters of marriage equality across the country.
We have been working long and hard, hoping that Parliament would do its job and allow a vote on this reform. Sadly, we have been disappointed.
In response to that, a strong legal challenge is being mounted against the Federal Government highlighting that it should not be able to spend $120 million of taxpayers’ funds without parliamentary oversight. That challenge will continue.
In this past week, many have been asking what we should do next. Obviously, we fight the legal challenge and try to win it.
However, we must also acknowledge the impossible situation that supporters of marriage equality are in and particularly same-sex couples.
We are facing a prospect of a national plebiscite on our relationships. This will be tough, but we must continue to campaign for marriage equality regardless of the challenges we face.
We can win this in 2017 and the most important thing we must all do now is make sure as many marriage equality supporters are on the electoral role as possible.
Enrol now at: www.aec.gov.au/enrol.
Alex Greenwich is the co-chair of Australian Marriage Equality and the Independent Member for Sydney in the NSW Parliament.