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Support Drops for Non-Binding Marriage Equality Plebiscite

21 July 2016 at 10:02 am
Ellie Cooper
Support for the proposed same-sex marriage plebiscite has fallen after Australians became aware that the results of the $160 million exercise would not be binding in Parliament, a new poll has found.

Ellie Cooper | 21 July 2016 at 10:02 am


Support Drops for Non-Binding Marriage Equality Plebiscite
21 July 2016 at 10:02 am

Support for the proposed same-sex marriage plebiscite has fallen after Australians became aware that the results of the $160 million exercise would not be binding in Parliament, a new poll has found.

Rainbow flag march

Photo: blackboard1965

According to a Fairfax report, the Galaxy Research poll of 1,000 people found 48 per cent  support the plebiscite.

However, this lowered to 35 per cent when respondents were informed that the result would not be binding, and support dropped further, to 25 per cent, when they were told of the cost involved.   

The national spokesperson for Not for Profit group Parents and Friends of Lesbians and Gays, Shelley Argent, who commissioned the poll, told Pro Bono Australia News she was pleased with the results.  

“I think it’s very encouraging, and I think… the Coalition [is] really doing the wrong thing by prolonging the decision to have a plebiscite and all they’re doing is drawing it out,” Argent said.

“Nobody wants a plebiscite anyway, they [the government] would be more forward thinking if they forgot the plebiscite, if they just had a free vote, because that’s what the vast majority of Australians want.

“And even if they’re not LGBT, they still just want it done… so that they can then move onto other important things, or more important things.”

Argent said she commissioned the poll because she believed support for the plebiscite was overstated.

“It just didn’t seem to us that it was correct that everybody wanted a plebiscite, and people also didn’t understand what the plebiscite entailed,” she said.

“I mean it’s all very well to say, ‘I want to have a say’ or ‘yes the people should have a say’ but many didn’t understand the cost, they didn’t understand the impact, they didn’t understand that it was non-binding.

“What’s important is the more that people learn about this, and this is what our goal is, to educate the general public, the more they understand, the more they go, ‘we don’t need a plebiscite, just get on with it’, and when you think about what they could do with $160 million, what a waste.”

Argent said that the public and political discussion around marriage equality and LGBTQI rights was already taking its toll on the community.

She also said she was concerned it would worsen when the plebiscite is announced and anti-marriage-equality groups mobilise.

“It’s beginning to have a negative impact, and this is what’s so bad, the debate actually hasn’t even started, but people are fearful, they don’t know what’s going to happen. Of course many are expecting the worst,” she said.

“It’s a different issue but it’s the same impact – it’s like with the issue about Islam and such at the moment, the attacks are increasing, the abuse is increasing, and that’s what’s happening, it’s just the same as what’s happening with this issue of marriage equality.”

On Monday night Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull said the plebiscite, which was due to be held this year, could be pushed back to early 2017.

Ellie Cooper  |  Journalist  |  @ProBonoNews

Ellie Cooper is a journalist covering the social sector.


  • Maureen O'Brien-Stone says:

    IS this report going to be brought to the attention of Mr Turnbull’s office and is lobbying going to be undertaken to encourage a parliament free vote and as soon as possible ?

    • Kim Donohue says:

      Good question…and why is this “issue” taking so long to be resolved and at such an absurd cost, when there is the simpler and more democratic (and “innovative”) solution?

  • David Polhill says:

    I hate the way the media portray marriage equality in Australia as inevitably going to happen sometime! I am against it on a number of different levels. (Ok now I can expect to be labelled homophobic in the current climate)
    No its not good for the country!
    I suspect the govt are reading the strength of the potential debate and don’t want people hurt for lots of reasons rather than avoiding the issue.

    • Ewan Filmer says:

      So, now “nobody” wants the plebiscite? Really? Not even 25%? The Galaxy poll was commissioned and carefully worded to get the result its proponents wanted. It shows how little respect the opponents of a plebiscite have for a debate, when the supporters are dismissed so tritely as ‘nobody’.

      On the evidence so far in this debate that people who support the existing law of the land will be vilified and persecuted far more than the people who demand ‘equality’ after all legal discriminations against same sex partnerships already has been eliminated. See what happened to Archbishop Porteous in Tasmania when he simply explained the Catholic Church’s teachings on marriage to his own congregation. The pro SSM lobby conflated his letter into a complaint to the Anti Discrimination Commission that he was vilifying homosexuals! They want to dumb down the discussion to slogans and prevent this question being fully debated.

      Marriage ‘ equality’ means that children will be denied the right to be brought up by both mum and dad by law or to even know their real identity of their biological parents on their birth certificates. This is not ‘vilification’, it is factual. Ordinary citizens should be able to have their say about this.

      The history of same sex marriage in the USA amongst other countries shows that if it becomes law in Australia there will be retribution and complete intolerance of anybody who in good conscience does not agree with the new law.

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