A sea of rainbow shut down streets on Saturday as thousands of marriage equality supporters marched through Brisbane.
More than 2000 people gathered in Queen’s Park to call for a change to Australia’s marriage laws, one of several rallies across the nation.
Speakers at the event criticised the non-binding plebiscite, which the Coalition has promised to hold at an estimated cost of $160 million if they win this Saturday’s election, as a “slap in the face”.
They believe a plebiscite will only allow a “campaign of hate” to mount against the LGBTIQ community.
Queensland Greens Senator Larissa Waters said it could result “in a publicly funded hate campaign of divisiveness, disunity, prejudice and bigotry”.
“Australians don’t want that, they want their parliament to get on with the job of making laws,” she said.
“The Prime Minister (Malcolm Turnbull) should stand up to his backbench and dump this plebiscite idea – it a waste of $160 million and it will cause division and hatred and bigotry and disunity in the community.”
— Simge (@sxjxjxjxjxjxjxs) June 26, 2016
At yesterday's marriage equality & safe schools rally in Brisbane. Felt good to be surrounded by so much positivity! pic.twitter.com/Imeco8r8z5
— B (@Doppelganger_13) June 25, 2016
— Shianne Watts (@wattshianne) June 26, 2016
On Friday Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull confirmed that Coalition members wouldn’t be bound by the result of the plebiscite and would be free to vote with their conscience.
He dismissed concerns of a damaging “no” campaign, telling the ABC he was confident “there will be a respectful, no doubt robust debate about the issue.”
Fairfax Media revealed a push was underway within the Coalition party room to allow conservative MPs and Senators to vote against marriage equality reforms if their individual electorate had voted in a majority no, even if the majority of the nation had voted yes.
Marriage equality rallies opposing the proposed plebiscite were also held in Sydney, Melbourne, Perth and Canberra on Saturday.