Crikey! Australia moves towards Division, Discord & Dissent

“You don’t use a plebicite on emotional issues because you’ll only divide and upset the community.”

As you may now know, a nationwide plebiscite on marriage equality will be held on the 11th of February 2017, but did you also know that the federal government has the power to enact marriage equality more promptly than a national poll due to a highly criticized High Court constitutional decision in 2013?

So… if we were to actually have this plebiscite, how might it play out? Some believe it will be harmful to many LGBT individuals, others believe a vote is required to gauge the opinions of all Australian citizens, and others are more concerned about the significant amount of money (over $160 mill) being used towards a plebiscite and its yes and no campaigns rather than for public education, community services, and healthcare.

So before you turn to the person next to you and argue that a plebiscite is the only way to go, let’s take a look at the 3 previous plebiscites in Australian history and how they turned out…

Our first plebiscite on conscription took place a century ago in 1916-17. It’s remembered as awfully dividing families and communities, with people also suffering verbal abuse and being attacked for not supporting conscription. Unhealthy amounts of propaganda was also involved, with the government using their inflated wartime power to arrest opponents of conscription.

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What happened next? Well in 1917 many large rallies and public meetings took place across Australia, including 60,000 women promoted by the United Women’s No-Conscription Committee who gathered in Melbourne’s Swanston Street and blocked roads for an hour.

In the end, the pro-conscription vote was only narrowly defeated (51.61%). Not only that, but the Prime Minister Billy Hughes’ cabinet imploded, resulting in him leaving the Labour Party and forming a coalition of conservatives, which is known today as the Nationalist party of Australia.

If the dissolution of a political party following a decisive plebiscite doesn’t deter Malcolm Turnbull from implementing a similar poll himself… then what will?

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In 1977 the application of plebiscites moved from sending young boys into senseless, life-threatening fights on the Western Front to ‘What’s your favourite song?’ The national anthem up until this point was God Save the Queen, however, there was a debate to replace it with a more ‘Australian’ song.

As a result, the nation was, you guessed it… divided. Some wanted Advance Australia Fair, other preferred the Song of Australia (that no one really knows apart from South Australia) and others wanted Banjo Patterson’s Waltzing Matilda. There was also debate over whether Waltzing Matilda’s lyrics about robbery and suicide was appropriate for a national anthem. Not only this, but the much loved song was copyrighted by Banjo Patterson’s family, and a five-figure sum was the cost for the government to buy the song outright!

Soon after, the plebiscite was held, with the majority of the nation voting for Advance Australia fair, (South Australia mainly voted for the Song of Australia (surprise!), and the ACT largely voted for a suicidal hobo who evaded cops).

Many State Governments, RSL’s and other organizations also argued that “a national anthem is suppose to be a symbol of national unity; in Australia, it has become a focus for division, discord and dissent.”

There was also rumours that the government attempted to stitch up the result by planning to provide $150,000 towards the advertising of God Save the Queen and placing this song on the top of the ballot paper.

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Despite the large majority supporting Advance Australia Fair, it still took another seven years before the government actually implemented it as the national anthem!

So why don’t we use plebiscites? Because people remember the controversies of previous polls, the violence and hate that stemmed from it, as well as the long period it takes the government to actually implement the result once a the poll has been conducted.

Division, discord and dissent is not the Australian way, and as Dr Stephan Petrow has said; “You don’t use a plebicite on emotional issues because you’ll only divide and upset the community.”

And this firey debate on same-sex marriage is anything but emotionless. So make sure you help Australia towards a free parliament vote, not another plebiscite! Click here for more.

EJ

Get on board with Facebook’s #LoveIs Letter

There’s a new trend taking to Facebook over the last couple of days to help Australian’s take action and raise awareness against the continued discrimination faced by the LGBT community.

So, what is it?

The #LoveIs Letter circulates between friends and family, making its way through different social circles as a way to bring the ongoing, cruel and often violent discrimination against gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgenders back into the spot light. As an extension of the current debate for same-sex marriage, the letter raises concern about the issue and informs people that the legalisation of same-sex marriage will help demolish this bigotry.

How does it work? 

It’s as simple as A,B,C! Participants take action by spreading the letter through a Facebook status which asks them to attach a photo that finishes the sentence “#LoveIs___” and tag friends to do the same…

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How do I become part of the Trend? 

You don’t have to be tagged to spread the love! Just copy and paste the below text and follow the instructions.

Let’s make a change…

118,962 Aussies marry each year, but there are still over 35,000 couples who can’t.

Such discrimination saw 1,798 murders across 62 countries between 2008 and 2015. That’s one LGBT killing every two days! The 2016 Orlando massacre killed 49 people and injured 53 others, making it the worse mass shooting in U.S history.

1 in 4 gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender people have experienced physical or verbal abuse in the last 3 years. This may not be you, but it could be a friend, family or someone you know.

Let’s end LGBT discrimination by showing others that it should be ok to love and to marry, no matter what. Help #ChangeAustralia by taking a step towards marriage equality.

Because love knows no gender, and neither should marriage.

Spread the love by posting this as your status and attaching a photo that finishes the sentence: “#LoveIs ___________.”

Tag 4 mates to do the same!

EJ

Join The Petition – No Mr Turnbull, We Don’t Want A Plebiscite!

An Australian plebiscite on gay marriage is expensive, pointless, and will give opposers the opportunity to run hate campaigns. Say no to a plebiscite and sign the petition today.

The current state of support for same-sex marriage sees Australia moving closer to a pointless, divisive plebiscite.

This public vote will cost over $160 million in tax payer money, provide a platform for hate campaigns, damage the mental health of many young LGBT individuals, and will not bind parliament to the outcome.

Many MP’s have also confirmed that they will ignore the results of a successful same-sex marriage plebiscite anyway.

Parliament has the power to enact marriage equality now, so why are we wasting time and money on something that the government will ignore?

Sign the petition today and say NO to having a plebiscite!

Tell Mr Turnbull, there’s a better way.

EJ

Apple’s new emoji’s are so gay its beautiful!

This year, Apple has taken a stance in the federal Government’s lead up to the upcoming plebiscite, releasing a statement of support and posting their logo on the Australian Marriage Equality website!

Not only this, but the latest Apple operating systems update includes new emoji’s as a way to throw their weight behind greater gender diversity. This includes more female gendered sport emojis, male versions of dancers, as well as a rainbow flag and many LGBT diverse characters.

The company said; “Apple is working closely with the Unicode Consortium to ensure popular emoji characters reflect the diversity of people everywhere.”

And now you’re thinking well, how many other companies support this non-discriminatory view of matrimony?

Many, actually.

Corporations, unions, community groups, local governments, churches and even government agencies (including the Australian Bureau of Statistics which included same-sex couples in the 2011 and 2016 National Census) now recognize and support same-sex marriage in Australia.

American Express, Telstra, ANZ, Australian Super, QANTAS, Commonwealth Bank, Foxtel, Holden, Kmart, NRMA and MacDonald’s are only a hand full of the long list of supporting Australian and inernational companies (for the full list click here!).

So don’t just sit there and twiddle your thumbs… Take individual action and make love a reality for all Australians! Check out #TeamEquality for the more information.

EJ

Help #ChangeAustralia for the better

“To have and to hold, from this day forward, for better, for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness or in health, until death do us part.” Extending the boundaries to include same-sex couples doesn’t weaken this definition of marriage – It reinforces it.

Welcome to From the Closet to the Aisle, a project aimed at overcoming marriage inequality and towards the recognition of same-sex marriage in Australia. Here, we believe in beating this ongoing issue by educating, supporting and debunking the misconceptions associated with gay marriage. Together, we can take action and help achieve marital recognition for gay and lesbian couples!

How?
– Join the conversation on social media by hashtaging #ChangeAustralia
– Share your comments, experiences, opinions and ideas with us
– Take action! Sign the petition to help make marriage a reality for all Australians.

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Remember, love doesn’t discriminate and neither should Australia.