Marriage equality was once again up for debate on ABC’s school special Q&A last night, which saw a panel of young people debate topical issues in Australia.
“Conservative politicians, usually with religious ties, are the ones denying rights to equality,” said Jasmine, a young audience member toward the end of the show.
“It shouldn’t matter who you love,” replied student panellist Jock Maddern.
“It shouldn’t matter who you are, and that means no one should be able to say you cannot marry them. What goes on behind closed doors in another person’s house is no one else’s business but theirs.
“For someone else to say that’s not acceptable is criminally unfair.”
Maddern said he believed a plebiscite was the fairest way to allow all Australians a say in marriage equality.
“I don’t agree that we should have a plebiscite or a postal vote,” said young panellist Jacinta Speer.
“The country is clear—we want marriage equality. To try and engage in this plebiscite or postal vote, which would only stir up so much hateful and angry rhetoric, I think would be detrimental to all of us.
“It’s something where we’re lagging behind all other developed countries, all of the world. We need to take action on marriage equality.”
Student Aretha Brown agreed that marriage equality is past due.
“We’re at this point now where I’m pretty sure the consensus among young people is we want marriage equality,” she said.
“To think that there’s certain people out there that don’t have the same rights as a person sitting next to you, it’s just—this is supposed to be Australia in the twenty-first century, for crying out loud.”
Young panellist Pinidu Chandrasekera said he agreed with a plebiscite to allow all Australians to have a say on marriage equality.
“When you are doing something as fundamental as changing the definition of marriage… everyone has to have a say on this, and I strongly support a plebiscite,” he said.
The camera returned to the questioner, who voiced her disapproval of a plebiscite.
“If you bring the plebiscite into this… trans people, bisexual people, gay people are open to discrimination,” Jasmine said, before sharing her own experiences of discrimination in the streets of Melbourne.
“You can open it to the public, but in reality… you’re just opening everybody to attack—people who don’t need that. You’re denying people the right to love.
“If people are going to be openly abused in public because they’re holding hands, that’s pretty disgusting.”
Josh Frydenberg, Minister for the Environment and Energy, said that based on polls, if a plebiscite had gone ahead marriage equality would be a reality.
“I support that,” he said. “I think we can allow the Australian people to have their say.”
“Frankly, we should just get [marriage equality] done,” added Shadow Health Minister Catherine King.