THE leader of Australia’s only LGBTI political party warns the upcoming plebiscite will cost some people their lives and believes the current government is the most anti-LGBTI he’s seen in his life.
“There’s a bit of a war coming, the plebiscite which is likely to happen is not good,” said Jason Tuazon-McCheyne, leader of the Australian Equality Party (AEP).
“You can’t put a dollar value on that.”
The AEP is running candidates across the country in Saturday’s election, but it’s Tuazon-McCheyne who is in with a real shot to pick up a Senate spot.
He formed AEP with his partner and other LGBTI couples because they felt a rising tide of hatred toward LGBTI people and wanted to make a difference.
“We beat with an LGBTI heart… we’re tired of non-LGBTI people deciding if we’re OK,” he said.
“The idea of having an independent voice inside the parliament would be extremely beneficial.
“We want to be elected to talk about what is now 23 areas and 45 pages of policy around what we think is important to LGBTI people.”
During the week Federal Treasurer Scott Morrison declared that Australia voted ‘no’ against marriage equality, that would be the end of debate around the issue.
If that is the case, Tuazon-McCheyne believes the presence of the AEP in the Senate would be even more crucial to represent LGBTI people.
“Malcolm Turnbull has not met openly with any LGBTI organisations since he became Prime Minister, he has met with other organisations,” he said.
“That sends the message that we’re not included… we’re not a celebrated community.
“At the end of the day, the whole of government believes there is something wrong with LGBTI people.”
Tuazon-McCheyne is urging people to put the AEP first on their Senate ballot and wants to assure voters by doing so, it won’t cost bigger parties their vote.
“We know we’re a real chance, the other thing I need your readers to understand is, if they vote one for us and put their other favourite party number two, they’re not going to cost Labor, the Greens, or Liberal a Senate seat by doing that,” he said.
“But if they stick us number two and put their other favourite party number one, it doesn’t help us at all.
“We just need 100,000 votes.”
The AEP is a centrist party that can boast members from each end of the political spectrum who believe in equality for all people.
Its leader admits the 2016 Federal Election is perhaps the most important election for his party to win a seat in, with the upcoming plebiscite.
“If we get in now, we can establish ourselves really well,” he said.
“If we get in, we get paid, we get paid staff. We’ve all worked so hard for free and it’s cost us a lot. I can’t imagine what it’s like to be paid to do this job.
“Nobody owes you anything… we have to work hard.”