Good morning Australia,
Today is day 3 of the #DearPM project, and I’m about to dash down to the post box and send this letter.
I was lucky enough to receive a submission from my friend, ally and all-round awesome human, Dave Gaukroger.
My husband says that if we lived in the Harry Potter universe, Dave would be the full-blood wizard that is unashamedly pro-muggle (and pro-muggle born), no matter how powerful Voldemort becomes. Basically, he’s genuine, brave and stands up for what’s right in the world. He’s our very own Mr Weasley.
I still need submissions: simply email your reasons for supporting marriage equality to firstname.lastname@example.org to be included in the project.
The Hon Malcolm Turnbull MP
CANBERRA ACT 2600
17 November 2016
#DearPM: Marriage Equality (3 of 30)
To the Hon Malcolm Turnbull MP,
It’s day three of writing letters, calling on you as Prime Minister of Australia to allow a free vote in the parliament on marriage equality. Yesterday’s letter got me thinking about family. Drag Queen and Supermodel of the World, Rupaul Charles often says: “As gay people, we get to choose our family.”
Many of us are lucky enough to be able to surround ourselves with genuine and caring people, who take on those family roles in our lives. Often this is because our families need time to accept us for who we are and the life we will lead. Imagine the impact and positive affirmation that marriage equality would bring to those people who have to build a family.
Today’s contribution is from a great friend and ally, Dave Gaukroger. I first met Dave when my husband was the editor of his podcast. Dave and his family have always been incredibly welcoming and kind to us and he jumped at the chance to help me when I asked him to contribute to this series.
Dear Prime Minister Turnbull,
Like you, I’m a supporter of marriage equality in Australia. Also like you, I’m a straight, white, family man who has never had to consider the consequences of the Commonwealth Government deciding to specifically restrict my rights based on who it is that I love. However unlike you I don’t have the ability to end the obvious discrimination that the Howard Government decided to insert in the Marriage Act back in 2004. I think that you should take that opportunity, do the right thing, and bring on a free vote on one of the pieces of legislation that will bring marriage equality to Australia.
I’m not here to argue the case for marriage equality, you already know the compelling reasons why we should remove discrimination from our society, especially discrimination based on something as intimate and personal as who people choose to love. What I want to do is let you know why I think marriage equality is important for you.
Prime Minister, you don’t need me to tell you that you are spectacularly unpopular with the Australian people. So many people from all sides of the political spectrum had such high hopes for you when you became Prime Minister, they had high hopes for what it would mean for Australia, and to this point you’ve thoroughly disappointed them. What an inglorious end to a long public life if you are to be remembered as little more than a better spoken version of Tony Abbott.
It’s time for you to change the narrative. Instead of being seen as someone who is being directed by buffoons like Cory Bernardi and George Christensen you could be seen as someone who is willing to put principle first. Don’t worry about the Nats and the bigots on your back bench, they’d rather swallow their pride than go to the cross bench. With one simple decision you can start to look like the leader that you promised people you would be, you could get out the leather jacket, head to the Q and A studio, and maybe find that the Australian people could regain some of the respect for you that they’ve lost.
The writing is already on the wall for you Prime Minister, your chance to make a significant mark on Australia is slipping away with every Newspoll. Why not do something that will give you a legacy to be proud of, something that you already know is the right thing to do? Marriage equality is an inevitability, but you have the ability to decide whether you will be a champion of it, or a speedhump on the wrong side of history.
I’m not asking for you to allow a free vote on marriage equality for me, I won’t be directly affected, though people who are very dear to me will be, I’m asking you to do it because it is the right thing to do.
Dave Gaukroger, New South Wales
As Dave (and my mum who submitted for letter number two) is based in regional Australia, I would like to know answers to the following questions:
- As Australia is known as a thriving tourist destination, what advice has the Prime Minister received form the Minister for Trade, Tourism and Investment on the potential positive impact of marriage equality for Australia as a country for destination weddings?
- What advice has the Minister for Trade, Tourism and Investment provided about how wedding tourism could boost the economies of rural and regional centres around Australia?
This is my third letter in a series calling for a free vote on marriage equality in the parliament, and in your current term. A free vote is the correct way to legislate for marriage equality. You could allow this to happen today.