By Matt Akersten

“I wrote a letter to the Prime Minister, because his plebiscite on marriage equality will hurt people,” says Victoria’s Premier Daniel Andrews today (Mon 25th Jul, 2016).

The government is now expected to announce details of the national plebiscite on marriage in coming weeks, with Australians likely to go to the polls sometime before Autumn next year.

But according to new research revealed last week, support for the expensive, divisive and legally unnecessary public vote falls to only 33% when voters learn it won’t be binding, and then to 25% when they also learn the cost will be at least $160 million.

Today Victoria’s Premier is urging Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull to ditch the plebiscite plan, describing it as “a harmful public vote on whether or not a group of Australians should be considered equal under the law.”

“Despite members of your government publicly stating that, regardless of the plebiscite result, they will vote against equality in the Parliament, you are proposing to spend $160 million of taxpayers’ money on what amounts to the nation’s most expensive opinion poll,” Andrews writes.

“The plebiscite will hurt people. It will legitimise a hateful debate which will subject LGBTI Australians to publicly funded slurs and denigration, further alienating a proud community who have fought so hard against prejudice for so long.”

“You and I have had the privilege of standing in front of our loved ones and committing ourselves for life to another person, and both of us were afforded full legal recognition when we did so,” Andrews reminds Turnbull.

“At the time I did not consider it unusual that I should have the legal right to marry Catherine. I realise now how precious that right is, because I’m witnessing so many people forced to fight just to be allowed to do what I did – marry the person they love.

“In Victoria, equality is not negotiable. On behalf of my state, I urge you to accept there is no need for a costly and divisive plebiscite and agree to produce a bipartisan Bill to amend the Marriage Act within the next 100 days.

“By granting government members a free vote, you can finally stand up to those in your party room who do not represent a fair and modern country,” the Premier emphasises.

“Marriage equality means so much to so many people. On the cusp of its realisation, it is wrong for you to impose one last hurdle – one final insult.

“Hundreds of thousands of Australians are currently discriminated against under Australian law. To them and their families, this plebiscite is not an opportunity for reform, but an opportunity for rejection.

“After a botched referendum in 1999, you accused a conservative Prime Minister of breaking the nation’s heart. If you fumble at this crucial moment, history will only remember you for the same thing.”

 

This article was originally published on Same Same. Read the original article.