Colourful Campaign on a Shoestring

This interminable survey is proving hard to bear for some in our community, and nowhere more so than away from the bright lights and the big cities, up in Far North Queensland, home to some pretty full on religions, and rife with the redneck mentality.

Cairns LGBT Alliance is a community group formed in 2011 to work with all levels of government and civil society to address issues that impact on our communities.

Since the announcement and enactment of the Australian Marriage Law Postal Survey, the Cairns LGBT Alliance has undertaken many grass-roots activities to encourage as many people possible to vote “Yes”.

Like many other groups, we’ve engaged in phone calling, doorknocking and letterboxing. But as a community group with zero funds, other than small contributions that our members may make from time-to-time, we’ve also added some unique activities of our own, at no expense.


The first was roadside waving – over several days, a group of people with rainbow flags and signs with positive messaging would stand by the road, encouraging drivers to vote “Yes” on their way home from work. The response was overwhelming – people beeped their horns in support, some even pulled their cars over to join us. For many in our community, in the first week of the survey where the negativity on social media was starting to take its toll, it was a very affirming, inspiring, morale-boosting activity for us to undertake.


The next idea that we made into a reality came about from a discussion with Vyv Wong (who is also the President of Cairns Tropical Pride) and her partner Sule Akbas – to film a video of a group of people spelling out the word “Yes” at one of our beautiful tropical beaches. A friend Gillian Hackett filmed with a drone from above, with several others filming footage on the ground from their phones. The finished product was edited together by Andrew Wheatland using Jess Glynne’s “Hold My Hand” as the accompaniment, with several people volunteering their time, with once again, moving and inspiring results. Scroll to the end to see the fun result!

As a regional city, we may not have the population of the larger cities, however we do have quite a large and cohesive LGBT community for a city of our size. So rather than attempt to hold public rallies, our activities have been really successful in creating positive conversations with people in the broader community as to why a “Yes” result is so important to everyone.

The latest ads from the “No” campaigners (who’ve apparently spent 5 times more than the “Yes” side) may be attempting to portray us all as aggressive internet trolls, but we’ve steered away from any of this sort of behaviour, and focused on remaining positive and the core messaging of “Yes” for equality and fairness, and that ultimately, “Love is Love”.


YES – Cairns LGBT Alliance from Andrew Wheatland on Vimeo.

About the author

Veteran gay writer and speaker, Doug was one of the founders of the UKs pioneering GLBTI newspaper Gay News (1972) , and of the second, Gay Week, and is a former Features Editor of Him International. He presented news and current affairs on JOY 94.9 FM Melbourne for more than ten years. "Doug is revered, feared and reviled in equal quantities, at times dividing people with his journalistic wrath. Yet there is no doubt this grandpa-esque bear keeps everyone abreast of anything and everything LGBT across the globe." (Daniel Witthaus, "Beyond Priscilla", Clouds of Magellan, Melbourne, 2014)