Things we could spend Plebiscite’s $160m on

Rodney-Croome-Shelley-Argent-and-Ivan-Hinton-Teoh Marriage Equality Bill Plebiscite

 The $160 million allocated for the marriage equality plebiscite PFLAG, an LGBTI group, suggested using it differently.

In a recent TV and social media ad called “Better Things We Can Do With $160 million,” PFLAG proposed funding 578 teachers, 477 nurses, and 1975 postgraduate degrees with the plebiscite’s cost.

On Tuesday, it was reported that the federal cabinet approved a February 11 date for the plebiscite and allocated $7.5 million to both “yes” and “no” campaigns.

The ABC reported the voter question: “Should the law change to allow same-sex couples to marry?”

Watch PFLAG’s ad below:

Marriage equality campaigners said the confirmation of the public funding makes the plebiscite less acceptable to the LGBTI community. They repeated their calls for a free vote in the parliament instead of the plebiscite.

“We cannot countenance taxpayers’ money being spent on what is likely to be hurtful, harmful and even hateful campaign materials from the ‘no’ case,” Parents And Friends Of Lesbians and Gays spokesperson Sharyn Faulkner said.

Veteran LGBTI rights campaigner Rodney Croome

Expressed concerns about both the public funding proposal and the reported question.

“Asking about a ‘change to the law’ is unnecessary and distracts attention from the key issue,” he said.

“A simple question would be something like ‘Do you believe same-sex couples should be able to marry?’.”

Dr Kerryn Phelps

who is campaigning with Australian Marriage Equality, said the length of the marriage equality debate meant the plebiscite was unnecessary.

“We’ve been having this debate now in the community for almost 20 years. My wife Jackie and I have been arguing the case for marriage equality for that whole time,” she said.

“I believe all views have been aired”. There is poll after poll now that has said that the Australian people want to have marriage equality.”

Yesterday, Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull informed parliament of his commitment to a fair plebiscite. Turnbull refuted opposition leader Bill Shorten’s claims on Monday that the plebiscite campaign would be vitriolic and harmful.

“At the end of the day, whichever side is unsuccessful will nonetheless be able to say we had a fair go, it was a fair contest, a fair question, a fair process… and we, the parliament, then respect it,” he said.

But the future of the plebiscite hinges on whether the Labor party supports the legislation enabling the vote in the Senate.

Labor deputy leader Tanya Plibersek told ABC Radio the opposition had “deep concerns” and the decisions in Cabinet “don’t allay any of those concerns; in fact, it worsens them.”

She said, “We’ve already seen the type of material that’s being put out against marriage equality. We have organisations involved in this debate advocating for the suspension of anti-discrimination legislation. And advertising rules for a publicly-funded $15 million battle.”



Is This The Date Of The Marriage Equality Plebiscite?

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Nerelle Harper

Nerelle is a contributor for QN Magazine and QNEWS Online

QNews, Brisbane Gay, App, Gay App, LGBTI, LGBTI News, Gay Australia

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