Geelong locals to ask Sarah Henderson to cross the floor for equal love

Issue 

Geelong locals, with the support of the Geelong Trades Hall Council, plan to hold a rally at 12noon on September 2 at the office of Federal MP for Corrangamite, Sarah Henderson, to ask her to cross the floor for marriage equality.

Acting Secretary of Geelong Trades Hall Council Colin Vernon said: “This is such an important issue for so many people and it would be nice if the Conservative Liberal government could stop playing party political games with people's lives for once and just get on with it.”

The rally organisers released this statement on August 31.

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At 12 noon, Friday September 2, Geelong locals will be gathering at the office of Federal MP for Corangamite, Sarah Henderson, to ask her to cross the floor for marriage equality.

In June 2015, Sarah Henderson said marriage equality was consistent with Liberal values and “I confirm that I support both marriage equality and a free vote for Coalition MPs”.

Since then, the Liberal government has failed to deliver legislation, has failed to deliver a plebiscite, despite ongoing promises from them to do so. Ongoing promises which ignore what the majority of Australians, gay and straight seem to be saying, which is no plebiscite, legislate it now.

The campaign for marriage equality has been ongoing since 2004 when the Prime Minister of the day John Howard led a push which successfully changed the Marriage Act to define marriage as “voluntarily entered-into union of a man and a woman to exclusion of all others”. This legislation was rushed through with no plebiscite or national discussion in the lead up. The marriage equality campaign is now in its twelfth year.

Deakin University student Jessica Ferguson-McLellan, one of the organisers of the event said: “I don't understand why we are even having this conversation in 2016. It seems Australia is one of the last countries in the Western world still dragging its feet on marriage equality. It is beyond time that we catch up with the rest of the world and just legislate it.”

On August 30 the Australian Labor Party gave notice of a private member's bill to legislate marriage equality in Parliament, while promising they will block legislation for a plebiscite on the matter, along with The Greens and the Nick Xenophon Team. However, it is a Liberal-dominated committee that decides when bills will be debated and voted on.

Meanwhile Christopher Pyne, has accused the ALP of standing in the way of marriage equality by blocking the plebiscite, while Bill Shorten and the ALP are accusing the Liberal party of delaying tactics by attempting to put off a plebiscite until February 2017.

The message from the Australian public is clear. Stop delaying, stop playing politics with people's lives and just pass the legislation.

Rally organiser Sarah Hathway, a member of Socialist Alliance, said: “Our event on Friday is to send the message that we have well and truly had enough. Marriage equality has been delayed 12 years too long already and we need to pass it and move on. So we want people to show up on Friday with their rainbow flags, gay, trans or straight, everyone is welcome if you support equality.”

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