Good morning Australia,
It’s day four, and I’ve had an amazing response so far, with people making enough submissions to get me through the weekend. It’s brilliant to see everyone’s different approach to calling for equality. Honestly, I couldn’t do this without all the help that is coming my way! Still, I need more submissions, so keep emailing them through to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Today’s contribution is from David Micallef, President of GLOBE Melbourne. David is one of those people who is constantly working to improve the lives of LGBTI people in Australia and around the world. He is the driving force behind the GLOBE Community Awards and I’m very proud to have had the opportunity to work with him as a volunteer for the past four years.
David brings up our economy. And it’s important. This PM talks a lot about jobs and growth, but seems to resist a simple free vote that would allow for some jobs and growth. With all that in mind, here’s my favourite Veep gif.
Take care and keep submitting.
The Hon Malcolm Turnbull MP
CANBERRA ACT 2600
18 November 2016
#DearPM: Marriage Equality (4 of 30)
To the Hon Malcolm Turnbull MP,
Let’s talk the economy. Let’s talk jobs and growth. Imagine if one free vote in parliament could boost an industry with a previously unprecedented upsurge? Last year the ANZ bank calculated a minimum boost of $500 million to our national economy if marriage equality becomes a reality. For the sake of our economy, allow a free vote.
Today’s contribution is from a friend and professional mentor, David Micallef. As the President of the Gay and Lesbian Organisation for Business and Enterprise (GLOBE), David works with LGBTI professionals, business owners and community groups every day. He also launched and continues to run the GLOBE Community Awards, recognising excellence in Victoria’s LGBTI community.
David knows this community incredibly well and he devotes countless hours to working for the benefit of all LGBTI people in Australia.
This is what David has to say:
I have received a number of requests over the years from organisations based in other countries, wanting to engage our members – professionals and business owners – with the prospect of going overseas to get married.
Why? Because these organisations know that in Australia, the rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex people are not to the same standards as their own, and see the opportunity to target our members, and our community, based on this inequality.
In Australia, some of our largest organisations have got behind the LGBTI community’s plight for equal rights, because they see the economic and social benefits of supporting our community.
This because they have already reaped the benefits of pushing for equality within their own walls.
These organisations have seen the benefit that can come when they treat all of their employees as equals, and when they make a concerted effort to make sure that no one is excluded based on their race, religion, sexuality, gender or ability.
All sides of parliament in Australia have seen the need for marriage equality in our laws. Whether or not they agreed on the plebiscite, there is an agreement that this is an issue that must be rectified in our community – and a majority of our elected representatives believe that equal marriage is an eventuality.
So when there are so many in our community that see the sense in equality, why do we find it so hard to make it happen?
My organisation, the Gay and Lesbian Organisation of Business and Enterprise, surveyed its members just before the election to gather their opinion on the marriage equality, and ensure that we were representing them to our full capacity.
The result was not surprising in that all of the members surveyed were in support of marriage equality. The majority of our members, however, told us that they did not agree with the plebiscite as a way of achieving marriage equality.
Our members, many of whom are in long term relationships, told us that they would rather sacrifice getting married in the short term than go through a public, and potentially damaging, campaign.
Many people have asked me why I would not want to let the public, many of whom support marriage equality, decide. The answer for me is simple.
When I first came out to my family at age 19 I didn’t follow the same path that may of my gay friends had followed. The ones who sat their parents down and told them that they were different and asked for their acceptance.
I decided that as I didn’t have a choice in who I loved or was attracted to, that I shouldn’t have the need to ask for permission for my sexuality. Instead, I accepted who I was and decided to stop lying to my friends and my family and just let them accept me for who I am.
If I wasn’t willing to seek permission from my family for who I love, then why would I seek the permission of 16 million strangers?
A free vote, from those who we elect to represent us in parliament is the easiest and simplest way to rectify this mistake in history.
David Micallef, Victoria
In his opening statement, David talks about businesses from other countries using our continued inequality as a marketing tool. I would like to know answers to the following questions:
- With reference to ANZ’s calculation of marriage equality bringing a $500M boost to our national economy, what does the Treasurer and the Department of Treasury advise about the risk of this boost being reduced or lost with further delays to marriage equality?
This is my fourth 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.