Ahhh. Where have we seen this before? 2016 US election? Brexit? Yes. It’s the name and shame game. Make people feel that failure to vote “yes” in the same sex marriage (SSM) plebiscite makes Australia as backward as predominantly Muslim countries (which ironically are the same countries the liberal left will scream unwavering support if any criticism is thrown at them, despite their stance against homosexuality), a few former communist states and Thailand. The irony of SSM is the campaigning and advertising is probably the worst spent money ever. How?
If I asked all the Aussie people who adorned their page with “I’m voting yes” I’m guessing 99% had already made up their mind and nothing would change it. So any “No” campaigns should have slid like water off a duck’s back. The same goes for those in the no camp. 99% have probably made their mind up and no amount of “Yes” campaigning will change that. Posting memes which aim to shame people has the opposite effect by further cementing their “No” vote.
I’m not confident this plebiscite will pass. No amount of tears from Senator Pratt, $1m from Alan Joyce, rainbow banners forcibly added on my blog draft page or friends telling people they have a moral obligation to vote Yes will have any effect. Why the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) is charged with handling the plebiscite and not the Australian Electoral Commission (AEC) is beyond me .
Going a step further, we see that the ABS has sent multiple ballots to some addresses because of outdated information of former tenants, rogue postmen have threatened to use torches to throw out “No” votes they find and a government that introduced emergency laws to ban free speech on SSM. Personally I think the plebiscite fails but the more concerning thing about the SSM debate has been the attack on free speech. How?
Anyone that would seek to tamper with an official vote (mail tampering is an offence), vote multiple times or seek to get people who are in the “No” camp deregistered from the medical profession or think government leaders using tax payers to support the “Yes” cause only to influence an outcome indeed would place Australia in the right column which contain countries that in many cases don’t believe in democracy. Having emergency laws on free speech to curtail it in a way that would only punish the “no” side tells us all we need to know. A gay journalist can happily tweet he’d “hate f*ck the homophobia out of conservative politicians” and that is passed as a racy joke but if conservatives said they’d “hate f*ck the homosexuality out of a gay progressive politician” they’d be hounded into the courts.
Indeed Australia is rightly positioned in the above column. Just the heading of the study should be “rights to free speech” not “equal marriage rights”