It’s a big ‘yes’ for marriage equality Neil Walker email@example.com A SIZEABLE majority of voters across the federal electorates of Dunkley and Flinders backed samesex marriage in the marriage equality postal survey. The Australian Bureau of Statistics announced last Wednesday (15 November) that 61.6 per cent of eligible voters across the nation voted for the law to be changed to allow same-sex couples to marry and 38.4 per cent opposed the move. An ABS breakdown of voting showed 70 per cent of Flinders voters voted “yes” and 30 per cent voted “no”. The seat of Flinders is held by Liberal MP and Health Minister Greg Hunt. In the marginal seat of Dunkley, held by Liberal MP Chris Crewther, 72 per cent of voters backed marriage equality with 28 per cent voting no. Mr Hunt said in a statement last week: “I was one of those who voted yes and I will be one who supports the bill in Parliament in line with my own beliefs, the majority view of my electorate and the majority view of the country. “I understand and deeply respect that this view is not supported by every member of my community and that is why we will ensure that there is recognition of religious freedom within the bill.” Mr Hunt revealed two years ago he had changed his mind on samesex marriage since voting against a
Health protest: Refugee rights protesters took to the roof of the office of Greg Hunt. Pic: Gary Sissons
Rooftop protest for refugees
private members bill in September 2012 to legalise marriage for gay and lesbian couples (“Hunt converts to same-sex marriage cause”, The Times 24/8/15). Mr Crewther said he will push to ensure “equality under the law while simultaneously ensuring religious liberty and freedoms of speech, conscience and belief”. “I congratulate the yes vote getting up, both in Dunkley and nationally, in line with my own personal vote in the postal survey,” he said. “In line with the view in Dunkley and nationally, I will also be voting yes when the legislation is voted on
in Parliament.” Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull says he is confident same-sex marriage can be legalised in Australia by the end of the year. Some MPs want exemptions put in place to allow businesses and religious groups to be able to refuse to be involved in same-sex marriage wedding ceremonies. Mr Hunt said: “It is now our job as parliamentarians to respect the outcome of the vote and implement the will of the Australian people.” The ABS confirmed last week the non-binding postal survey cost taxpayers almost $100 million.
WHILE the federal government repeatedly refuses New Zealand’s offer to provide a home for 150 Manus Island refugees, activists have staged a protest over the Hastings office of Flinders Liberal MP Greg Hunt. Refugee Action Collective members climbed onto the office roof displaying banners with the words “Hey Hunt! Health = food, water, medicine and safety. Evacuate Manus!” Mr Hunt’s spokesman Mathew Langdon said: “All Australians have a right to protest, however there’s always a responsibility to do so within the law.” Watched by police, the protesters came down voluntarily after two hours. No arrests were made. “We are here today to draw attention specifically to the horrifically deteriorating health situation faced by refugees on Manus Island,” Refugee rights advocate Amanda Zivcic said. “These men have committed no crime and yet have been deprived of their freedom and their health for four long years. Ms Zivcic said Mr Hunt, who is also health minister, should “do your job
and evacuate these men, bring them here, and give them the health care they need and they’re entitled to”. “There are people with infections, a man with heart pain, a man having serious epileptic seizures, and another one with severe kidney stones. A vast proportion of these men also have mental health issues brought on by years of imprisonment at the hands of Australia. Refugees have been viciously attacked. And now, food is not being let in, the men are prevented from storing water, and all are dehydrated and starving.” Ms Zivcic said the government and the Labor opposition “need to answer for the situation they have created on Manus Island”. These prisons are constructed and funded by the Australian government, they’re staffed by Australians and it was Australia who dumped them there. And the new prison that the men are resisting being moved to in East Lorengau is no improvement on this, and it is even less secure than where they are now.” Stephen Taylor
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Frankston Times 20 November 2017