By September 25th, all Australians will have received their same sex marriage postal survey. We can all agree that the two weeks since they started rolling out have been a wild ride.
Follow us on a journey through what Prime Minister Malcom Turnbull declared would be “a respectful discussion on this issue.”
Tony Abbott’s alleged “head-butt”
Here seems like a good place to start as it
seems like bullshit raises some questions. Australia’s former Prime Minister and avid “no” campaigner claims he was assaulted by a yes supporter. He says a man wearing a “vote yes” badge approached him for hand shake before head-butting him and running away.
Mr Abbott, who was mutinied by his own party, is now using the incident to condemn vote yes supporters and the “brave new world of same-sex marriage.” He continued to claim that the yes supporters are responsible for the campaigns ugliness.
Violence is abhorrent, and there is no justification for assault.
However, the story seems a little muddy. Tasmanian Police say the media alerted them of the attack, not an official report. Witnesses of the incident say there was no mention of same sex marriage before or after it supposedly occurred. Nor has Mr Abbott sustained any marks from the incident. Eventually, a 38 year old man was charged for the assault, but confirmed that it was indeed not related to same sex message with this quite frankly glorious quote.
“It was nothing to do with the ‘yes’ campaign. [It] was just a lifelong ambition to headbutt a fascist, because I’m a skinhead that likes ska music and hates fascism. He’s an evil c—, I’m an anarchist and I believe in human rights.”
It seems Mr Abbott has forgotten one consideration, that someone would want to head butt him for any reasons other than his feelings on same sex marriage. Like this guy:
It is almost certain that QANTAS CEO Alan Joyce, or Kevin Rudd’s godson Sean, or the thousands of people who have experienced violence because of their sexual identity, would disagree that they are responsible for this campaign’s ugliness.
Insecure Survey Forms
The idea to make this vote postal has not come without problems. Piles of dumped forms have been found around Melbourne. Anyone with a flashlight can view the contents inside the envelope revealing confidential votes. A Northern Territory woman reportedly marked multiple forms with no votes before they could be delivered to the correct recipients. A vote was even found for sale on eBay for $1500.
The list goes on. There are many reasons that Australia utilises a mandatory polling booth voting system that can ensures confidential, secure votes. A rorted vote on how consenting adults can structure their relationships would be devastating, and worth much more than $1500.
Awkwardly placed Ads
The placement of advertising for votes in either direction have caused both problems and giggles. A Launceston pizza shop reacted to a no campaign ad placed on their building by incorporating another major political issue, pineapple on pizza.
It also begs the question of the rights of business owners who have advertising spaces attached and what goes on them.
A Tasmanian pub owner has come out in support of free speech after a no campaign billboard appeared above the establishment. This is despite her support of same sex marriage.
AFL House Silenced
Melbourne Police are currently investigating if a hoax bomb threat at the AFL was linked to their recent support of same sex marriage. Only the day before the threat had AFL house replaced their outdoor logo to a large YES sign.
It was a brave move in a sporting culture that has a long history of homophobia. For many it would have been a symbol of change for both fans and those inside the AFL. In just 24 hours a threat of extreme violence and many complaints saw the AFL take down the sign.
This situation echoes the harassment faced by the queer community in an attempt to silence them. Am I still meant to be concerned about the right to free speech for no voters?
Cory Bernadi Does It In a Dress
Let’s round this up with the most satisfying turn to come from one of these debacles. A school in South Australia set the humble yet noble goal of raising $900 to educate girls in Africa. It encouraged students to wear a dress for the day with a gold coin donation in order to raise funds.
Corey Bernadi, unable to stay quite on issues that don’t impact him, was vexed. He tweeted his frustrations, labelling the charity event absurd “gender morphing.” It’s hard to say what he wanted to happen with the tweet but it wasn’t likely for the fundraiser would raise over 200 times it’s goal.
Not only did Bernadi’s tweet get people to rally around the school and help raise over $200,000 for an extremely worthy cause, it feels hopeful. From an uninformed and unnecessary action, people rallied to do some good.
The same can be done for the rest of this campaign, no matter what the result. We can all rally together in the name of love.