We're hope­ful that Aus­tralians truly be­lieve in a fair go for all

The Guardian Australia - - Opinion - Alex Green­wich

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

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