OPINION | The deadline is looming to confirm your details are up to date with the Australian Electoral Commission (AEC) by August 24, 2017 to be eligible to participate in the Australian government’s marriage law postal survey.
While I appreciate that some may not agree, my own personal position on marriage equality is that it is a human right.
Late last year I founded People Reaching Out to People, a volunteer organisation that aims to use education to help people unlearn the stigma around mental illness so they are better able to reach out and help others who are suffering.
For some within the lesbian, bi, gay, transgender, intersex and queer (LBGTIQ) community, this move towards marriage equality can be a triggering moment as they may already be struggling with other personal and mental health issues.
If national polls are anything to go by, the majority of Australians support marriage equality, validating love as a human emotion which doesn’t discriminate. It is my hope that marriage equality will be part of the healing process for many of those who are struggling in the LBGTIQ community.
Should you be uncertain or wish to vote against same sex marriage, I’d ask for one simple favour.
Invite a friend or colleague from the LBGTIQ community and calmly explain to them why you are uncertain or against same-sex marriage. Should you be unable to confront them with such uncertainties and concerns, perhaps this is your conscience trying to give you a message to quell any concerns you may have on this matter.
At PROP, we have written, printed and distributing a flyer urging Australians to either register or update their mailing address with the AEC and vote in the upcoming same sex marriage postal survey.
If you support marriage equality please forward this message to others and encourage them to enrol with the AEC or, if already enrolled, to please be sure to double check that their postal address is up to date.
If you feel energised, why not join us to hand out flyers to others at local train stations, campuses, or to friends and family? Not sure who said this, but it takes an army of passionate people to make the impossible happen.
Whatever your frustrations are with this process, they still won’t change the fact that a postal survey will go ahead. And while any result may still not be legally binding, it would be very hard to fathom how any democratically elected government would fail to listen to the voice of its electorate.
While admittedly biased as to how I wish we’d all vote, the true underlying message is not to assume all Australians will vote or that any conclusion is a given. Recent events from other countries would challenge such a belief and the lesson learned is never to underestimate the value of your vote. This message extends to Australians outside our shores, who will equally need to update their new mailing details.
The AEC is expected to mail out the ballots on the same-sex survey by September 12. To be eligible to vote, however, you MUST be registered with the AEC by Thursday August 24.
Which means to have your voice heard, you must act NOW.
You can enrol, or update your home address, by visiting the AEC website www.aec.gov.au/enrol
Rob Prugue is the volunteer founder of People Reaching Out to People (PROP). This column represents his personal views.