NTEU support for marriage equality

October 21, 2017
NTEU members at Sydney University back marriage equality.

Martin Rorke gave this speech at a speakout for marriage equality at Sydney University on October 11.

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I am a member of staff here at the University of Sydney and I support same sex marriage. I am also a member of the National Tertiary Education Union (NTEU) and I'm proud that my union is fully behind the Yes campaign. 

On a personal note, but I'm sure I speak on behalf of all NTEU members, I would like to thank all the students for their support and hard work during our industrial action. It shows you what the staff and students can do when we work together.

I'm disgusted that we are having this sham of a survey. The politicians should have legislated for same sex marriage years ago, as they have done in many other countries. This postal vote is a massive waste of money. Worse, it’s giving bigots and homophobes the confidence to say and do the most horrible things. 

In face of this vile onslaught the University of Sydney is saying and doing nothing. Why has the university not spoken up against homophobic attacks? Why has the university done nothing when swastikas are appearing in our neighbourhoods? 

I'm ashamed. 

Our university constantly talks about good leadership. Just look at their militaristic banners lining Eastern Avenue. But where is this leadership when our community needs it? The Vice-Chancellor, Michael Spence, has said it would be wrong for the university to enter the debate. Bollocks. 

By saying nothing the university is supporting the status quo. By saying nothing the university is tacitly supporting the hateful No campaign. 

Currently the university has a ridiculous catch phrase: “If you change nothing, nothing to change”. Who knows what this phrase means? But I do know that “if you say nothing, nothing will change”.

Also, Mr Spence, please don't pretend this is some form of moral, philosophical or academic debate. This is not a debate. It's about ending discrimination. The university has to stand up against discrimination. 

Spence has said it would be dangerous if the university takes a substantive position on any given issue. But, we all know it's even worse when people and organisations say nothing about injustice. 

Spence, you are out of touch with your staff, you are out touch with your students. You are even out of touch with your university's own equality policies. 

We have to show the community, that the staff and students of this university will not tolerate discrimination and homophobia. That is why we should demand that the university fulfils its commitment to diversity and inclusion by publicly supporting marriage equality.

One final plea. Please keep up your hard work. It's so important. We don't need to just win this postal vote. We need a huge victory if we are to push the bigots back into the margins. 

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