Stirrer’s Plebiscite Poll – Closed

Plebiscite ballot box? pic Andrew DuPont


Poll has now closed: see result above.

Yesterday was a day of heated yet respectful argument – on the phone, online, in person – about the newly returned government’s determination to hold a plebiscite on marriage equality.  The idea arouses strong passions against, but only lukewarm and grudging support.

Very few people in my personal ‘bubble’ want one. Most are vehemently opposed. Those in favour are less invested: their arguments tend to revolve around the defeatist idea that, since we are going to be forced into a plebiscite anyway, we should invest our energies into making it the best plebiscite we can, and then winning it.

This is the path that Australian Marriage Equality seems to have chosen: they neither like nor want a plebiscite, but in practice seem to have have given up and accept its inevitability. Regular readers will know I have little sympathy with this view. I have begun speaking with AME: they say they’re adamantly against a public vote, but their actions give rise to doubt.


Reasons for fighting a plebiscite range from the mundane – it’s a waste of money – to the principled – we shouldn’t have any public vote on anyone’s human rights. I won’t rehash them all again, you’ll find them here, here, here, here and here, and elsewhere on the stirrer.

The urge to shield, protect and defend our children and young people drives the most passionate opposition. The fear of unleashing a tidal wave of filth from opponents (Lyle Shelton and assorted Catholic bishops can coo sweetly all they like, but sweetly expressed, polite filth, delivered from a pose of faux concern, is still filth), and the effect this will have.

Some pro-plebisciters say we must accept this as the price for “finally” settling the matter. Quite apart from the breathtaking immorality of contemplating an increase in self-harm and suicide with a shrug – “You can’t make an omelette without breaking eggs” – it won’t.


Our opponents will not give up, even if the plebiscite passes by a huge margin. Many MPs have already made it plain they’ll ignore the public vote they themselves are demanding if they don’t like the outcome. Extremist Christians in ACL, the Catholic Church and even in the Coalition itself – what I generally refer to as the Christaliban – are adamant that even if we achieve marriage equality, they will campaign to repeal the law.

Marriage equality will never be acceptable to these people and appeasing them is pointless. They are unappeasable. Have they given up trying to limit and to recriminalise abortion? No, and they never will. The same people don’t just want us to remain second-class citizens, they want to recriminalise homosexuality, too, and put us back in jails and psychiatric hospitals. Although nowadays they are careful not to say so in public. They want anti-vilification laws suspended during any plebiscite campaign so that they can.


Government sources claim they can manage this and ensure ‘respectful debate’. Like they did over Safe Schools? Utterly outrageous behaviour and language from people like the appalling George Christensen were not only allowed to run rampant, step by step, concession by concession, the program was gutted to appease him and his ilk.

If the government womders why the G.A.Y. community does not trust them with a plebiscite, and if they are serious about rebuilding that trust, they are first going to have to apologise for Christensens dreadful behaviour, admit they were wrong about Safe Schools, and fully restore the program.

Instead of which, Christensen is being spoken of as a potential Minister in the new government. Case closed.

And just take a look at the rising tide of hate over the last six months.


However: enough about me. A little experiment. I’ve already written about how the ‘70%’ support figure for a plebiscite was conjured up. Comments on Facebook are running strongly against a plebiscite, even if the alternative is no movement this parliament. Meanwhile we wait to see if the small bloc of out gay Liberal MPs have the integrity to put their community before their party and cross the floor to block a plebiscite. The omens are not good, with one already declaring a public vote a terrific idea.

So I posted a poll on Facebook and Twitter on 11/7/2016. My personal plebiscite, with every bit as much, or as little, validity as the big one we may be forced through. Totally unscientific,slanted questions and all etc. I get that. See the result above. Thanks. I’ll be sending the bill to Malcolm Turnbull, but he needn’t worry. It’ll be a lot less than $160m.

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)