Deakin students have had their say this week, slamming the postal vote plebiscite on gay marriage as a “waste of tax payers money” and a “stupid idea”.
Three out of the four students interviewed were totally against the idea of a postal vote. One student was confused by the idea of a postal vote saying “I don’t think there’s a need for these things and policies to be introduced. It should just be anyone can marry who they want”.
Just under two weeks ago Immigration Minister Peter Dutton called for the national postal vote on whether to legalise same-sex marriage. But Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull announced this week that the government has decided on a non-binding postal vote, after the Senate again denied a compulsory plebiscite.
Both options have been controversial and the gay community appears to be the least impressed.
Human rights and marriage equality activist Michael Barnett believed the postal vote would cease to provide any further progression for the gay community as the post is dominated by the older generation.
“Younger people are less likely to use the post and older people will and numbers show that younger people are more supportive and older people are less supportive, ” he said.
With the postal vote set to go ahead, Parliament will have their say over two selected weeks to make a decision on the Marriage Act and potentially legalise same-sex marriage.
From now onwards people have up until August 24 to enrol to vote and you can expect to see ballot papers being sent your way by September 12.
$122m for a voluntary unnecessary non-binding unprecedented postal plebiscite. This is our government, not the script for Yes Prime Minister
— Peter van Onselen (@vanOnselenP) August 8, 2017
But the $122m postal vote merely provides a guide for the Parliament, which then allows them to see what number of Australians are favourable to same-sex marriage.
The postal plebiscite has seen plenty of backlash, as it essentially suggests that the future of gay men and women in Australia would ultimately come down to the personal views of our politicians, regardless of the postal vote’s results.
There is an ever-growing momentum to settle the argument before the next election, yet what Australians are consistently seeing is an ongoing argument with no actual result.
As Australians we pride ourselves on the immeasurable progress of our country. But we are quickly seeing the nations around us adapt their constitutions, so why is ours taking so long to budge?
Coming out in 1995 Mr Barnett is now 48 and can empathise with the struggles of growing up as a gay man or woman. He admits that the progressive change in Australia has provided some benefit.
“There has been massive changes that I have seen over the past twenty years, it’s been quite overwhelming, in some areas there’s been insufficient change and in other quite a significant change, ” he said.
Noticeably Australia has progressed over the past 10 years and the support for the LGBTQI community has grown immensely, but there is still one huge gap that needs to be filled.
These next few weeks will be crucial for gay men and women around Australia. If the postal vote helps with advances in same-sex marriage, all will be good. If not we can expect to see plenty of let down LGBTQI people questioning their equality.