CQ's LGBTIQ community's must-read message for voters
A SAME-sex marriage "survey" will further vilify the LGBTI Central Queensland community.
This is Yeppoon man Chris McJannett's fear, and motivation behind the newly-formed Cap Coast Equality Alliance.
In the four days since the Facebook group was created, support has flowed from a cross-section of the community who believe in "all rights for all".
Mr McJannett said the Alliance's priority was to support friends, family and colleagues to stay strong, both in the lead up to, and post a same-sex marriage decision.
Do you support same-sex marriage in Australia?
This poll ended on 23 August 2017.
This is not a scientific poll. The results reflect only the opinions of those who chose to participate.
Though catalysed by the upcoming postal same-sex marriage plebiscite, Mr McJannett said equality is "not a political issue" and the Coalition initiative was an "absolute abdication" of the Australian Government's responsibility.
While Mr McJannett, who is also a Services Union representative, does not identify as LGBTIQ, he is taking a stand for those who do.
Mr McJannett refuses to call the non-compulsory postal vote a "plebiscite", and fears it will trigger a debate rife with attacks based on sexuality.
He said "poll after poll" said the majority of the country support same sex marriage, and all the $122 million vote would do is offer a non-binding indication on what people think.
"We believe everyone should be treated equally," Mr McJannett said.
"By making a decision they are going to make a survey through the post... is just going to trigger a debate that will bring up things that shouldn't be said.
"No one should be subjected to the comments that you do already see and hear, there's a lot of us in the community who whether it's because we have friends or family, or simply don't believe it should be happening and we believe in equality.
"We wanted to get together and say, 'it's not okay what's happening', but we are going to stand up and come together and do our bit to support LGBTI members of our community; to say we are with them, and they don't have to, and shouldn't have to, be forced to speak up and justify why they should be treated equally.
"And they shouldn't have to be subjected to comments that might diminish that."
Community members are welcomed to join the community meeting at Chapter Coffee Shop on Hill St, Yeppoon tomorrow from 6pm.
Australians have until August 24 to register with the Australian Electoral Commission, before letters are posted from September 12 to November 7.
The outcome will be announced on November 15, and Mr McJannett said the Alliance would do all it could at a local level to ensure the community had their say.
He stressed while they do not agree with the approach, it is important to take part.
"We have to participate, we have to make sure people don't just boycott it, they don't just fill the envelopes with glitter," he said.
"That they actually make a point of getting enrolled and complete the survey and say 'yes, equality is for everyone, do your job and vote for it in parliament'.
"The government are elected to go into parliament and make these decisions.
"They will make a decision about huge, significant matters including wars and other without a plebiscite or without a survey.
"But on something as basic as human rights to be treated equally under the law, they should just make that decision without having a $122 million survey that not everyone will necessarily even end up participating in."
Mr McJannett said he understands the Nationals hold the seat of Capricornia, and Rockhampton-based Nationals Senator Matthew Canavan has expressed his opposition to marriage equality.
However, Mr McJannett refuses to believe the LGBTIQ are up against a majority in Central Queensland, and categorically rejects the region is "close minded" on same-sex marriage and other social issues.
"I don't see this as an issue between political parties," he said.
"We intend to push this forward and go to those MPs and senators and say you need to be representing your community on this issue and your community is saying get it done."
Mr McJannett said with 50 respondents confirming their attendance at tomorrow's meeting, and more than 100 interested, he is confident they will "swamp the place".
"We care about social issues and we believe in equality," he said.
"And we want to do the right thing by the people next to us that we know and see every day that deal with the vilification.
"I do my job because of the same reasons."
If you want you ensure your vote will count, make sure your enrolment details are up-to-date, including your current address, by next Thursday, August 24.
About the same-sex marriage plebiscite:
- Ballot papers would begin arriving in letter boxes in for every Australian on the electoral role by September 12.
- The question will be whether Australians believe the Marriage Act should be changed to allow same-sex couples to marry.
- Australians will not be forced to vote on the issue; the postal plebiscite would be voluntary.
- A final result would be secured by November 15.
- MPs would then be given a free vote in Parliament if a majority of Australians vote 'Yes' but they would not be bound to vote based on the results.
- If Australians vote 'No', the government will not go ahead with the free vote.