Why We Didn’t Sign

A statement was recently issued by Australian Marriage Equality / Australians 4 Equality regarding the government’s proposed plebiscite, endorsed by more than 80 LGBTI organisations, large and small. Concerns were expressed by some, however, that – as has been the case since before the election – AME/A4E were continuing to hedge their bets, leaving the door to a plebiscite ajar, and failing to unequivocally endorse a free vote in parliament as the only way forward.

On the back of that statement, A4E have today launched a new TV ad for what they are calling the Equality Campaign – follow the link to the new website where you can see the ad and sign up to support them.

Still from AME/A4E TV ad

Still from AME/A4E TV ad

But the organisations that have fought hardest – and, it would appear, successfully – to destroy the plebiscite did not sign the A4E statement, and have in consequence been shut out of future campaign briefings by A4E..

Some PFLAG branches did sign the A4E statement, but the signature of Shelley Argent, national spokesperson for PFLAG, is missing, along with any endorsement from Rainbow Families, Ivan Hinton-Teoh from just.equal, Rodney Croome and Brian Grieg

the stirrer requested a statement from just.equal, and received the following, explaining their position. It is understood that PFLAG and Rainbow Families have similar reasons for withholding their endorsement.


Journalists and community members are asking why we didn’t sign AME/A4E’s statement on marriage equality and a plebiscite.

Our position, and the position the LGBTI community wants us to advocate, is very simple: no plebiscite under any circumstances, just a free vote.

The AME/A4E statement does not oppose a plebiscite under all circumstances. Neither does it say that a free vote is the only acceptable way forward.

The LGBTI community has made it clear that this is its position and that it wants its representatives to advocate for this position.

We have acted decisively on this mandate and will continue to.

In September we asked AME/A4E to amend their statement to acknowledge that the LGBTI community and its representatives are overwhelmingly against a plebiscite under any circumstances and want the path forward to be a free vote in parliament but they declined.

We acknowledge the important work undertaken by AME and A4E in preparing for a plebiscite should one occur.

But now more than ever the wishes of the LGBTI community should be respected and its aspirations advocated.

We look forward to working with everyone who shares our position.



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)