AUSTRALIA DECIDES

Post Date: September 7, 2017

A message from Workplace Pride Chair, Mark Emdin: 

Workplace Pride asks all Australians to vote YES for marriage equality 

Between September 12 and the end of October, Australian voters will be asked through a non-binding voluntary postal survey whether or not they support marriage equality and thus change the wording of the Australian Marriage Act. Workplace Pride does not support such a method for determining national policy linked to equality and human rights. Rather, we believe that the national parliament should hold a conscious vote on the topic and be bound by the results; especially as the majority of Australians support marriage equality. This is the same as has recently been achieved in Germany, Malta or Finland. It is important to be aware that there is no requirement under the Australian constitution for there to be a referendum or plebiscite on the topic.

The fears amongst those who oppose any form of public vote on marriage equality is that the public debate or discourse would become negative and cause harm to an already vulnerable and often felt marginalised part of the community. There has been much misinformation spread by opponents of marriage equality claiming that a ‘yes’ vote would lead to the end of families, is an attack on free speech and puts children in rainbow families at risk. Such rhetoric creates anxiety and stress and has the potential to impact the health and well being of all LGBTI+ colleagues at work.

We at Workplace Pride want to express our support for all LGBTI+ Australians and thus ask all Australians to vote in favour of marriage equality. Further, we want all Australian LGBTI+ employees of our members to know that we appreciate that this may be a stressful time and offer the following advice.

We also ask those working outside of Australia to reach out to your colleagues and show your support. This will certainly be appreciated.

Marriage equality in Australia will happen. It is not a matter of if but when. Workplaces can be a powerful force for positive change, and this is such an occasion. Now is the time for change.