NEWCASTLE MP Sharon Claydon’s electorate office window is covered in hearts to promote a vote she wishes ns weren’t having.
It’s the $122 million postal vote foisted on an unhappy public because the Federal Coalition Government is divided into camps –those who strongly opposesame sex marriage and those who aren’t strong enough to oppose them.
A postal vote is the inevitable consequence of n politics in 2017, where serious issues aren’t debated based on what is in the public interest, but on how the politics of the issues play out. Polls show a majority of ns either support same sex marriage or don’t regard it as an issue.
Governments in the past have declared mandates and made big decisions on much more controversial issues, based on the slimmest of slim electoral victories. But on same sex marriage both major parties have struggled. Labor is strong now, in part because it works politically to be seen strong because the Coalition is so divided, but in the past has also been divided. Julia Gillard famously stated her opposition to same sex marriage while Prime Minister.
A poll of Hunter politicians at local, state and federal level on Monday produced strongly-worded, heartfelt responses. Hunter Labor politicians seem genuinely pleased to be able to state their support for same sex marriage and the reasons, a number quite personal.
Support for same sex marriage is one thing, but garnering enough support for people to take part in the postal plebiscite –whether for or against same sex marriage –is another thing altogether.
“I can totally understand people’s temptation to throw away Mr Turnbull’s survey in disgust, to not dignify it with participation, but I would urge them to think twice before doing so,” Ms Claydon said.
It is gay Lake Macquarie Liberal councillor Nick Jones who summed up the difficulties this postal poll presents for so many people. His council announced a vote on same sex marriage which, surprisingly, he objected to. Organisations representing whole communities, like a council, should not speak on behalf of their communities, he said.
Upper Hunter mayor Wayne Bedggood probably summed up this period in ’s history best. In 100 years time people will look back and wonder what all the fuss was about.