Monday, September 26, 2016

Australia's backwards politicians

In New Zealand, we resolved the question of same-sex marriage through an (overwhelmingly supportive) vote in Parliament. Meanwhile, in Australia, politicians are dragging their feet, with the ruling "Liberal" party (which isn't) demanding that progress can only be by referendum - in other words, LGBT people can only have their fundamental right to marry recognised if politicians can't be held responsible for it, and if bigots get to mount a giant public hatefest first. But it turns out that the public they're so afraid of are overwhelmingly supportive of gay rights, and a referendum would lose in only a single rural electorate:

Just one electorate in the country has a majority of voters opposed to same-sex marriage, according to new research that suggests MPs and public debate significantly trail voters in backing change.

The University of Melbourne-led study found opposition to changing the Marriage Act ranges from 40 to just over 50 per cent in a handful of rural Queensland and northern NSW seats to less than 10 per cent in inner-city electorates in Sydney and Melbourne.

Maranoa, in outback south-western Queensland and held by the Coalition's David Littleproud, has just over 50 per cent of voters who do not want a change to allow same-sex couples to wed.

A small collection of seats – Groom, Flynn and Hinkler in Queensland and Deputy Prime Minister Barnaby Joyce's base in New England – could oppose same-sex marriage if undecided voters opted for the status quo.

And that's pretty much it. Australians support same-sex marriage. So why are their "representatives" against it?