MALCOLM Turnbull will achieve marriage equality. Potentially before the next election.
That’s not just a fanciful idea it has been said to me by politicians and Liberal Party power-brokers who are keen to get this issue off the table.
[showads ad=MREC]Turnbull knows in his heart of hearts that marriage equality makes sense. He just needs to bring his party along with him.
Countless opinion polls have found that a majority of Australians do believe in human rights and dignity for all. Unnecessary and discriminatory laws that prevent, say, me from marrying a man doesn’t sit well with Australia.
Last month, the Senate’s Legal and Constitutional Affairs Committee handed down their report which recommends that the Marriage Act is amended to allow for marriage between two people — regardless of their gender — “as a matter of urgency”.
This cross-party report wants marriage equality realised quickly. It isn’t the most exciting report, but it recognises that a plebiscite or referendum would be a shirking of the job that politicians are elected to do (that is, to vote on proposed laws).
But beyond the legal mumbo jumbo, there is wide evidence that shows marriage equality will create a more harmonious and inclusive Australia and will stimulate the economy.
So, now that they’ve turfed out Tony Abbott can we expect minted Malcolm Turnbull to achieve marriage equality?
In assuming the leadership, Turnbull said he was holding party policy. Smart move. The conservatives think he’s turning them into the pages of Green Left Weekly (or worse, the Labor Herald), so he is instituting a consultative process.
Fear not, same-sex couples looking to marry! Behold, the charisma of Prime Minister Turnbull. He’s a man who made his career from making mistakes and then lining up the ducks to never make them again. He will bring us marriage equality in three simple steps.
He will lay out the economics. Fairfax Media analysis shows that this could create over $1 billion in new spending, and potentially thousands of jobs.
Full equality before the law brings dignity and the confidence of humanity to each of us. That will permeate in how we present ourselves at work.
He will go to the heart. How would being prevented from equality make them feel? What about that of their children? Some call it simplistic but then again, this is a human issue.
He will talk to their fear. The backbenchers downed Tony Abbott not because they didn’t agree with him, for the most part they did, but because they thought he was leading them to electoral doom. Marriage equality is an opportunity to unite the community. Voters — red, blue and green — want this. There will be some casualties at the next Federal Election, but this will mitigate big losses.
So, as the conservatives rage and shout fearing a slaughtering at the ballot box if they realise marriage equality, Turnbull will show them that they are doing more damage by denying a vote.
The community wants this. Marriage equality must be achieved for a society that respects and promotes human rights. Denying it is an infringement on our democracy.
Over the past two years more and more businesses have come out, if you will, to demand marriage equality. Partly because it is a distraction to wider policy debates; but also because they see the need for inclusion in their organisations. That starts with the law.
Business isn’t just ready for marriage equality — they are raring for it to go. As boss of business lobby the Australian Industry Group called for marriage equality in 2010, Heather Ridout was a lone voice. Now over 400 join her.
Recently, the chairman of one of Australia’s largest companies said to me “I wish they would just deal with this”, and a chief executive said “I don’t know how you are coping with all the debate”.
The truth is, it is so farcical and bleeding obvious that this situation ought to change. Dignity, equality and respect should prevail.
However, these are the voices and stories in the ear of our new prime minister, and he will take them to the Liberal Party room. Rather than shirking responsibility, he will galvanise the party to consider their hearts, logic and the electorate.
As we know, this issue isn’t going anywhere.
Conrad Liveris is an advocate, adviser and researcher on the politics and economics of diversity. Follow him on Twitter via @
**This article was first published in the November edition of the Star Observer, which is available to read in digital flip-book format. To obtain a physical copy, click here to find out where you can grab one in Melbourne, Sydney, Brisbane, Adelaide, Canberra and select regional/coastal areas.