#DearPM: Marriage Equality (9 of 30)

Hi everyone,

It’s day 9 of #DearPM and this project becomes more and more rewarding each day.


Today’s submission is from Comedian, media-guy and human rights advocate, Tom Ballard. That’s not his official bio, but he’s really accomplished and it’s really long. You can read Tom’s bio here.

Tom very kindly put forward a submission to be a part of this project. For those of you who don’t know, Tom has a podcast called Like I’m a Six Year Old where he interviews interesting people about their ideas and beliefs. It is seriously worth a listen, even the episode where he interviews Lyle Shelton (which was quite challenging for me personally).

In a recent episode of his podcast, Tom interviewed his parents. His mum talked about working with Amnesty and the importance of the slow work of writing letters and calling for action or change. Let’s be inspired and remember how important it is to include your voice.

You can be like Tom and send a submission to: damien@djomeara.com.

Thanks and take care,

The Hon Malcolm Turnbull MP
Prime Minister
Parliament House

23 November 2016

#DearPM: Marriage Equality (9 of 30)

To the Hon Malcolm Turnbull MP,

Some research came out yesterday from the Scanlon Foundation where they asked a question about marriage equality in the annual social cohesion research. Not only did this research find that there is 67% support for marriage equality for same sex couples, which is consistent with other polls, it found that opposition to legislation from those of a non-English speaking background is only at 34%. I think a lot of us make assumptions about people from non-English speaking backgrounds, but this research shows that there is consistency across this particular demographic indicator with support for equality.

Today’s contribution is from Tom Ballard. You may have heard of Tom, he’s a comedian, media personality and human rights advocate.

This is what Tom had to say:

“I am a 26-year-old gay man living in Melbourne. I bloody love my country. It is not perfect by any means, but in so many ways it is an extraordinary place to live. I feel extremely lucky as a queer person to live in this place at this time in history: thanks to a tradition of suffering, activism and sacrifice of LGBTIQ+ activists before me, I am able to live openly and proudly and safely as I am. 

But the work of progress is not done. The removal of discrimination from the Marriage Act is not a life or death issue, but it is still an important one in our great campaign to make Australia live up to its promise as a free, fair and inclusive nation. As a supporter of marriage equality, Prime Minister, I know you agree with this. I’m now asking you to fight for that idea. 

Most Australians want marriage equality. Most Australians want a free vote in the Parliament. It is the quickest and cheapest way for the issue to be resolved. If those who wish to continue discriminating against same-sex couples believe in the value of their ideas so strongly, let them make their case in the media and on the Parliament floor and see if they can convince their constituents or their fellow MPs. That’s how the system works. Please, Prime Minister – let it work. Let’s get this done. Please stop using queer Australians’ legal rights and sense of self-worth and lives for political gain and have the courage of your convictions. You are the leader of our country. Now is the time to show some true leadership. Forget the machinations of factional politics in your party, forget the fear-mongering nonsense of the ultra-conservative religious lobby and please, I beg of you, focus on doing what is right and good, here and now. 

Marriage equality is inevitable. Please, Prime Minister, join us on the right side of history and allow a free vote now.”

Tom Ballard, Victoria

Tom highlights how lucky we are to be in Australia. And, with perspective of what is going on in the world, I can only agree with him. No one looks at marriage equality as a final solution; we understand that equality still requires work in Australia and around the world.

This letter began with an interesting statistic about Australians from a non-English speaking background, with that new data available:

  • What advice does the Assistant Minister for Multicultural Affairs have regarding those from NESB and their support for marriage equality?

This is my ninth 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.

Yours sincerely,

Damien O’Meara


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