SUPPORT for marriage equality in Australia continues to rise while the public’s confidence in politics has dropped to a record low, according to a new report.
In a review of the 2016 election released by the Australian National University (ANU), 70 per cent of Australians said they backed same-sex marriage while their trust in politicians has dropped to the lowest level since 1969.
Spokesperson for just.equal, Ivan Hinton-Teoh, said the survey presents an important opportunity for Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull and his party to redeem themselves.
“This government has an excellent opportunity to restore faith in the political system and boost its own support by allowing a free vote so marriage equality can pass,” he said.
“Australians desperately want the government to show leadership on issues like marriage equality instead of continuing to delay and frustrate reform.”
The Senate recently established an inquiry into the government’s draft same-sex marriage legislation, which was introduced by Attorney-General George Brandis earlier this year.
However, the draft bill prompted advocates to criticise some of the amendments within it, which allow LGBTI-specific religious discrimination when it comes to marriage.
Director of the Equality Campaign Teirnan Brady said the recent survey made clear how disenfranchised Australians were with the current political process.
“The majority of Australia backs marriage equality but it’s clear the world of party politics is getting in the way of delivering marriage equality,” he said.
“We all need our politicians to work together to make this happen.
“Marriage equality mustn’t be seen as a political victory of one party over another, our equality is not the property of anyone – this reform presents an opportunity for parliament to restore some of the faith they have evidently lost from the public in a difficult time for politics.”
Co-chair of Australian Marriage Equality, Alex Greenwich, said 2016 was a trying but overall successful year for the marriage equality movement.
“We are ending it with more supporters than ever before in our parliament, and amazing support from across the country and the world,” he said.
“The campaign will continue to help Australians tell their story of why marriage equality is so important to them and make sure that their message is heard loud and clear in Canberra.”
ANU has conducted the Australian Election Study following each election since 1987, and the latest is based on interviews with 2,818 people over the three months following the July 2 election.