Political leadership needed!
Yesterday we had an historic event. Not only did the NSW Parliament apologise to those who took part in the original protest march that later morphed into the Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras, but last night our nation’s leaders, Malcolm Turnbull and Bill Shorten took part. I never dreamt of a day when our Prime Minister would take part in Mardi Gras, but it has happened. This is a big event and should not be forgotten.
Hopefully, our political leaders now realise as Hilary Clinton did: “Gay rights are human rights.” Hopefully this won’t be the only time that our political leaders attend Mardi Gras and similar events. Last year in Brisbane I was lucky to lead the Pride march with other leaders, including Deputy Premier Jackie Trad and Lord Mayor Graham Quirk, who represented both sides of politics. There were many other politicians there- Federal, State and Local. The more the merrier!
And yet, despite this, we still do not have true equality. The ability to legislate for gay marriage was pushed to one side by the Coalition under Tony Abbott, and there it appears to remain under his successor. We now have to wait until there is a non-binding plebiscite of the Australian people, and hope that, fingers crossed, people like Senator Eric Abetz and Tony Abbott don’t seek to frustrate the will of the people and prevent change.
The plebiscite is likely to cost the Australian taxpayer, you and me, about $200 million. We have heard calls from the Australian Christian Lobby to relax the anti-vilification rules, so that they can sledge LGBTI people to their heart’s content in the lead up to a vote. Hopefully those calls will not be heeded.
When it was announced that the Prime Minister would be attending Mardi Gras, immediately there was sledging of him on Facebook yesterday. He was named as the “unelected Liberal”. Well so were Harold Holt and John Gorton before they won an election. Billie McMahon never won an election but he was our Prime Minister. No one seriously suggested that they were illegitimate for that reason.
Then the sledging continued:
“Gay marriage buy the end of the year. I wonder what I they will complain about next? Why a man can’t give birth.” and
“hey already have equal rights right now and No one is stopping them having ceremonies. What concerns me is that they won’t be happy with SSM but they will ( and already are) making the rest of us conform to their way.Those of us who don’t accept it ,prepare to be persecuted.”
Last time I checked, it wasn’t compulsory to attend Mardi Gras!
There will be a lot more of this type of bile to come with a plebiscite.
If the latest polling is correct, what was once seen as fanciful with the rise of Turnbull again, the election of a Labor government, is now a real possibility. If Bill Shorten is elected, then as we saw with the resignation of the aptly named Senator Joe Bullock, Labor will push for equal marriage laws.
There are many gay and lesbian people who are extremely angry that nothing has happened. If Turnbull has the numbers (and Australians for Marriage Equality say the numbers are there), he should show courage and push for change now, and not waste time and money and cause pain through a non-binding plebiscite. The sooner the better.