In a speech to the National Press Club yesterday, Magda Szubanski spoke powerfully of her experiences at the centre of the postal survey campaign and the toll it exacted on LGBTI people.
Speaking as the Senate’s frequently problematic debate over the marriage equality bill raged on, the actress and advocate expressed relief that the result was as positive as it was, The Guardian reported.
“We may never know the exact human cost of this experiment. The truth is some of us did not survive this process.”
“Knowing that 62 per cent of people wanted this is an amazing feeling, but would I trade that for the suffering? I don’t know. Who can make that call?” the Kath & Kim star said.
“This was a happy outcome but if a vote is ever put to the people like this again, I plead with you: do it better than this was done.”
Following Szubanski’s speech, Dean Smith’s marriage bill passed the Senate overwhelmingly and will move to the House of Representatives next week.
Advocates have called for the leftover postal survey funding to be directed to LGBTI support services, which saw a massive increase in demand throughout the last few months.
We spoke to Szubanski about the postal survey back in October, when she said she never expected to see this happen in her lifetime.
“When I was young all we were trying to do was stop [being gay] from being illegal, and I couldn’t conceive of the idea that we would get to the point where we could get married.
“It really affected me terribly at the time, being the sensitive thing I was, I was crippled with internalised homophobia. There were no positive role models back then and most people just actively loathed us.”
In her NPC speech, Szubanski reiterated that in political terms, the Yes result was a landslide and that politicians should reflect this in their approach to legislating for equality.
“If Yes was a political party we would now have a staggering majority of 100 seats,” she said. “We have done our job. Now they must do theirs.”
You can watch Magda’s full speech here.