Marriage equality poll ‘already causing hurt and distress’
 Baw Baw News   By // 02:04, Friday 11 August 2017

The first out female MP in the Victorian parliament, Harriet Shing, has encouraged same sex marriage advocates to enrol to vote ahead of the postal plebiscite on the issue.

Image: Harriet Shing in Warragul. A version of this story first appeared the 10 August Baw Baw In 90 Seconds – click here to watch now.


Having failed to pass its motion for a compulsory plebiscite on whether Australia should embrace same sex marriages earlier this week, the federal government has decided a non-compulsory postal survey is the answer. You can read more about the plebiscite by clicking here (SBS).

Ms Shing, a Labor MLC for the Eastern Victoria Region, said the Liberal National coalition’s postal poll would be ineffective because federal government MPs would not be bound to vote according to the result.

“I think everybody is increasingly of the view that burning well over $100 million for a non-binding, voluntary postal survey is not the best use of taxpayers’ money,” Ms Shing told the Baw Baw Citizen yesterday.

“In fact all it does is kick the issue along further because there’s no change that will lead from this.


“It’s an issue which is already causing an enormous amount of hurt and distress for people because the rules around respectful engagement have effectively been suspended.

“It means people can say just about anything they would like to say in debating this issue, and that has a very real impact for people who are after equal treatment before the law.

“For some people it’s not just about the rhetoric and the issues around the debate at large, for some people like me, it’s really personal.

“It’s about whether I should have the right to be treated in the same way as someone else who can already access marriage under the marriage act.”

Former High Court judge and prominent same sex marriage advocate Michael Kirby has said (ABC) he will “take no part” in the “irregular, unscientific” poll.

“It’s just a complete political improvisation and it’s completely unacceptable and it should stop,” he told the ABC yesterday.

Ms Shing said she understood there was a wide range of views on the vote, but that everyone who can vote should ensure they are, and that the AEC has their correct details.

“People, particularly from within the LGBTI community, will make their minds up about the extent to which they even respect the ground rules that have been established by the coalition in Canberra, [which is spending] well over $100 million on a stimulus package for Australia Post,” Ms Shing said.


“People don’t have to participate, but in the event that they do [it] in fact won’t count for anything because it’s not [binding] legislation.

“I respect that people will have a range of views about the value of this process, and I also agree that it’s going to be an enormously damaging and hurtful process.

“The key thing we have to make sure of though is people who are not currently enrolled are enrolled by the 24th of August, and that your details are up to date. For anybody who is either uncertain about their enrolment status or who would like to be enrolled, head to the AEC website and make sure that that’s correct.

“From there it’s about making sure we don’t lose sight of what the majority of people in Australia want, which is for LGBTI folk to be able to access the same equality that people take for granted around simply being able to get married and to have their love, to have our relationships, recognised in the same way.

“Superannuation already recognises it, a lot of state-based law already recognises it, we’ve got so many pieces of legislation which in fact don’t bat an eyelid when it comes to recognising the de facto equality of same sex relationships.

“Marriage is this one area where the Coalition seems hell-bent on doing everything it possibly can to delay, and to do so without any regard for the feelings of the people who it’s actually causing real damage to.”

A version of this story first appeared in yesterday’s Baw Baw In 90 Seconds. Watch the full bulletin below.

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9 responses to “Marriage equality poll ‘already causing hurt and distress’”

  1. Roger Marks says:

    Oh Harriet, what a pathetic commentator you are. The day after the decision was made about a postal plebiscite, I said that all the old tired porkies from those fighting for same sex marriage will hit the airwaves and the print media and internet.

    Next day, 100% true. Not an original thought amongst them. Still using the same old tired rhetoric and porkies to try and deceive the intelligent voting public and cow them into submission.

    Billy Boy Shorten first hit the airwaves with one of his favourites about all the damage it is going to do to all young vulnerable homosexuals.

    Tell you what Billy Boy (and Harriet) did suicide rates increase amongst homosexuals during the Irish plebiscite? If they had read the facts, which they avoid assiduously if it does not fit their narrative, they would have found out the suicide rates did not change.

    And then there is Scandinavia, a country to live in if you want homosexual friendly people and governments. They have all but succumbed to all the demands of homosexuals so has homosexual suicides decreased. NOPE!

    So if these two situations are facts and are used by the those wanting to change the face of society for the worse, why do they conveniently ignore the most important fact about them?

    When I ask this question all I get in reply is some waffle to try and hide the fact that they choose to ignore facts that do not suit their narrative.

    So the homosexuals haters of normal people are right in one respect. The sky is not going to fall in because the people of Australia will make the decision about destroying marriage as we know it.

    So let’s unpack this Miss Shing in the hope that you might like to start telling the truth.

    ONE. The poll will be effective because the government has SAID in Parliament it will implement its outcome.
    TWO. Spending over $100 million is not the best use of taxpayers money. Since when has Labor every been concerned about the best use of taxpayers money? Does $1.2 billion thrown down the drain by your government on canceled contracts ring a bell?
    THREE. No change will lead from this. So what you are saying is you don’t want the coalition to keep its promise to fulfill the plebiscites finding?
    FOUR. It is an issue that has caused an enormous amount of hurt and distress. Proof please. Any distress is self-imposed because you can’t accept that there are two sides to every story, judging by the the violence perpetrated by those wanting to rubbish marriage. I have files galore on my computer about this.
    FIVE. it means that people can say just about anything about anything. That will work in the favour of the rainbow warriors as they specialise in saying the first thing that comes into their heads, truth or lies. it is all there on my computer.
    SIX. For some people like me, it is really personal. Are you saying it is not personal for every Australian? As you are not very keen on reality, you haven’t woken up to the fact yet that most Australian do not want marriage trashed because society is based on it and its success is paramount to societies well being. The majority of Australians are not happy to be subject to the whim of 1% of them especially as Bill Shorten was told in no uncertain terms by his rainbow mates that when he becomes Prime Minister (God help us) he has to remove all the exemptions for Christians and religious people if SSM becomes law. I saw it all happen on TV, the day of the debate.

    I could go on with many more examples but this will do for now. But let me assure you that until you and all your homosexual mates start telling the truth, you have got yourself a battle.

  2. Sue Acheson says:

    In this day and age, I think we should do one thing to advance our society. Love one another. Sorry, two things. Treat others as you would have yourself treated.

  3. John says:

    It’s a survey not a plebiscite.

    But while were spending $122 million on a non-binding exercise, let’s not waste it, add a few questions;
    Are you in favour of
    – a Treaty with First Australians
    – a Federal ICAC
    – a banking Royal Commission
    – a citizens panel to assess politicians renumeration

  4. Roger Marks says:

    Hello, John Duck. How is Matthew going? A perfect gentleman no doubt about that. You should learn from him.

    I did not know this was an article about things in general so let’s forget the red herrings and stay with essentials, shall we?

    As for the none binding exercise bit. I take it you don’t watch or read the news. If you had or do, you will have read and heard MT say more than once that he will respond to the outcome with legislation with a majority yes vote, and no legislation with a majority NO vote.

    The only people that are not going to let sleeping dogs lie are the marriage wreckers who have said they will not accept the outcome if it doesn’t give them what they want.

    I mean how many times has SSM been voted on in Parliament? Sixteen I believe and every vote lost. I think there is a message there for the marriage wreckers.

    In addition, I have read that the marriage wrecking coalition including Billy Boy Shorten are doing all they can to have the postal plebiscite stopped.

    I know you can’t handle the truth but the fact is you are doing this because you know you are going to lose. If as the marriage wreckers keep saying the majority of Australians support SSM, why are they so stupid to try and stop something they are going to win?

    That has got to be the daftest thing of the campaign.

  5. Roger Marks says:

    Sue, I agree with you. With violence and crime on the street ramping up because of a soft on crime Andrews government, we do need to turn it around.

    One has to ask how the marriage wreckers mind works. They say love is love and then they send death threats to the children of a minister who spoke on homosexuality to HIS congregation, commonly known as free speech. Not a lot of love from them.

    Then there was the homosexual that was told something by a mother of four which he didn’t want to hear so he killed her, cut her up into pieces and threw the body bits down the garbage shute where he lived. Not a lot of love from him.

    Then my friend was on the receiving end of their love when he launched a book that he had written about homosexuality. it was by invitation only, but that did not stop the homosexual rent-a-mob invading it shouting obscenities, banging drums and blowing whistles. Not very loving you might say.

    They want us to tolerant of them but they are not too keen to be tolerant of those having a different viewpoint.

  6. Sue Acheson says:

    Then we should lead by example, not by vitriolic words. Love everyone, regardless of our differences.

  7. Jan stuut says:

    Roger Mark the your response is quite disturbing your use of “us and them “. Portraying homosexuals as murderers and conspiring to destroy Marriage.
    The Netherlands has had SSM since 2001. The social fabric has not been trashed its is a highly regarded democracy very inclusive. It is a waist of time and money to be still talking about this in Australia in 2017.
    Lets move on together and let every one in Oz try to live happily ever after.
    Calling Harriet pathetic is offensive. She is in fact a very brave woman exposing her self to what must be described as homophobic attack.
    I hope the Baw Baw Citizen can encourage all commentators to be more respectful in the future or put this sort of rubbish in the bin where it belongs.

  8. You’re quite right Jan, and I had meant to respond to those hysterical comments last night.


    If you think marriage equality is going to wreck your marriage then perhaps you and your partner should see a counsellor, because there is no way in which you can rationally argue your vows will be in any way lessened by other people marrying. If you are having marital issues it’s something else which is the problem, not same sex marriage.

    Your unreferenced and context-free points do nothing for your argument except place you firmly on the wrong side of history.

    You claim the yes side is linked to violence, but the rabid way in which you took to commenting on this is the only aggression I have seen on this issue so far. So who am I to believe is the real menaces to society here? The angry social conservative spitting bile as if they were going to be forced into a same sex marriage against their will, or the people leaving wonderfully supportive comments here and on every other platform?

    And on that point, you say the yes campaign will lose but your comments are the ONLY ones on this article backing a no vote. And I’m not just talking about comments on this website – there’s a load of support being shown for the yes campaign on the Citizen’s Facebook page.

    I agree with Jan’s comment that your replies are disturbing. You’re using (unreferenced) stats on suicide rates as if they’re something to celebrate while spitting bullshit which will make same sex attracted people feel excluded and unwanted. I dread to think that you might have unknowingly let a closeted family member know your views.

    You’re reaching desperately for reasons to oppose this when the only real reason behind your opposition is you simply don’t like it. You’re one of the increasingly small minority who for some reason thinks who other adults marry is any business of yours. The only consequences of marriage equality will be same sex marriages and maybe a slight improvement in the economy (weddings are expensive, you know).

    I won’t be approving any further dissenting comments on this article. I was very uncomfortable letting the previous ones through. Comments like yours hurt people, Roger, and I’m actually tempted to go back and remove the most offensive parts of your previous statements (which will be marked as edited if I decide to do that). I haven’t turned back comments in the past but this topic is one which I should probably break that habit for.

    William PJ Kulich
    Baw Baw Citizen editor