We're hopeful that Australians truly believe in a fair go for all
Today is the culmination of a nationwide campaign that has seen Australians from all walks of life come together to shape Australia as a fairer and more equal place for all. Immense leadership has been shown by everyday people who have stood up for their LGBTI mates to be able to marry the person they love in the country we all cherish.
Today people will be nervous, anxious and excited in the lead up to the result that will be announced by the Australian Bureau of Statistics at 10am (AEDT). The question that so many are asking is – what will the result say about Australia? If the experience of the marriage equality movement is anything to go by, it will say Australians truly believe in a fair go for all.
While we are waiting on the one big number to come out, here are some statistics that should give you hope. Hundreds of thousand voters enrolled or updated their details. We knocked on over 100,000 doors (and those doors were largely opened by smiling people saying “I’ve already voted”). We made over one million phone calls reminding people of the role they are playing in making history. Five million leaflets were handed out with millions of conversations about why marriage equality matters. Over 250,000 posters were put up in in homes and businesses, 150,000 badges are being worn right across Australia with great pride and over one million YES stickers are on cars, phone cases and folders.
Of course there have been some stats that have reflected how tough this campaign has been for some. Mental health services have reported spikes in calls for support. This was never a process we wanted. People from every political party opposed it. We tried to stop it in the high court – all we wanted was for the parliament to do its job and just vote this through.
However, anger about the process soon turned into action. We’ve seen more people marching for marriage equality than ever before and greater political cooperation than has ever existed in any campaign. Members of all major parties have volunteered and worked side by side every day of this campaign – united for YES.
Those campaigning for “no” have tried to distract, demean and cause conflict throughout the campaign. Some media outlets have disproportionately focused on this conflict, rather than the compassion showed by so many over the past six weeks.
We were chastised across the media from the ABC to Andrew Bolt for campaigning with a simple four line text message, while full page ads were taken out against us in national papers, packed with misinformation and about unrelated topics. For the record, that text message saw 200,000 people seek information on voting YES, 20,000 new volunteers sign up to the campaign, and a spike in polling for both turnout and voting YES.
At 10am this morning, let’s hope the experience of our positive campaign, supercharged by dedicated volunteers and the best campaigners in the country, is accurately reflected.
At 10:05am, let’s hope the Guardian publishes a simple number that shows Australia has said “I do” to fairness and equality for all.
We are ready to deliver an unequivocal mandate to federal parliament to do its job, make people happy, and vote through fair legislation now.
Alex Greenwich is the co-chair of Australian Marriage Equality and the Member for Sydney in the NSW Legislative Assembly
‘We’ve seen more people marching for marriage equality than ever before and greater political cooperation than has ever existed in any campaign’ Photograph: David Gray/Reuters