Love is Love: Where do we stand?

By MacKenzie Woeste

The recent gay marriage postal vote is a monumental step for Australia. Although this is a controversial topic for many Australians it’s a great opportunity for the public to put forth their voice. For anyone who might be hiding under a rock, a postal survey is being sent out to all registered voters of Australian to ask citizens whether they believe same-sex couples should be allowed to marry.

You might be wondering why this controversial issue now heading to a postal vote? In short, same-sex marriage was a large issue at the 2016 election. Our current PM, Malcolm Turnbull’s Coalition party said that they would hold a compulsory plebiscite (similar to postal survey but compulsory and held at polling booths) around same-sex marriage if their party was elected. Long political story short, the Labor, Greens and other parties shot down the plebiscite not only once, but twice stating that the expense was too high and that it would affect the LGBT community. So the Coalition party has resorted to sending out a postal survey which is similar to a plebiscite but is not compulsory.

A few larger issues revolve around the postal survey which include expense, counting the votes and how many Australians will turn out to vote. It’s a known concern that the postal survey is costing Australia millions of dollars, when in reality no matter which way Aussies vote it may or may not change legislation as it isn’t legally binding. Another ironic aspect of this vote is who is counting the votes. The Australian Bureau of Statistics is the party responsible in counting the votes, the same ABS that was responsible for the census, the census that they couldn’t get right. So, you see the issue in having ABS count the votes. The last issue that everyone is having questions about is how many people will turn out to vote. Seeing as though you will not be fined if you don’t vote, how many Australian’s will turn out to vote? Will the Coalition party be able to gauge public support for same-sex marriage if everyone doesn’t vote?

This is a landmark vote for Australia, no matter what your view on same-sex marriage is, everyone should vote. It’s encouraged to mail in your vote as soon as possible to see that it arrives in time. Here are some facts below to get you started.

WHAT QUESTION DO I NEED TO ANSWER? 

‘Should the law be changed to allow same-sex couples to marry?’

DO I HAVE TO VOTE? 

No you don’t have to vote, but think about it seriously before you chuck that paper aside. Remember if you decide not to vote, you need to tear or shred your form in two or more parts. This is to deter someone else from using it on your behalf.

PLEBISCITE OR POSTAL SURVEY?

This is not a plebiscite, it is a “Postal Survey” which means people don’t have to vote if they don’t want to and the results are not binding on politicians.

WHEN DO YOU NEED TO POST IT IN? 

The due date is October 27th – November 7th. Attached is a reply paid envelope so don’t forget to put it in a postal box before the deadline.

Responses received after November 7 won’t be processed.

WILL MY VOTE MAKE A DIFFERENCE?

Yes, your vote will make a difference. Without a 50% or more response from the population it is likely the result will not be taken into consideration.

WHAT ELSE DO I NEED TO KNOW?

Watch this video to find out: Same Sex Marriage

That is all for now! You have nearly 60 days to vote from the time you receive your postal survey so make sure you vote in this monumental decision for Australia!

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