Fears marriage ballot could divide

The Gippsland representative of the Anti-Violence Project of Victoria, Rob Mauger, fears the upcoming same-sex marriage postal ballot could expose the LGBTI community to hateful behaviour

“I’m 63, and I’ve heard everything everyone has said … that my love is so dangerous it will destroy the fabric of Australian society,” Mr Mauger said

“How does anyone think being told that feels?” Amid hearing ongoing discrimination that “makes you want to shrink as though you have no place”, Mr Mauger found satisfaction in the recent Pride Cup and wanted to thank the AFL community in the Latrobe Valley

“Those people involved expressed and showed that they accept us as equal,” Mr Mauger said

He said he’s “still riding on cloud nine” after the event

The Federal Government has asked the Australian Bureau of Statistics to hold a noncompulsory postal vote about whether same-sex marriage should be legal

Treasurer Scott Morrison confirmed last week the deadline for enrolment in the voluntary postal vote is by the end of the day on Thursday, 24 August

People seeking to receive a ballot must update their details or register to vote with the Australian Electoral Commission electoral role, which can be done on the AEC website

The final result of the survey is expected by 15 November 2017, and a majority ‘yes’ vote will mean parliament will vote later this year on the issue, however MPs will not be bound to change the Marriage Act according to the results of the nationwide survey

Federal Member for Gippsland Darren Chester said “we must not allow the same-sex marriage postal vote to divide our communities

“This postal vote is an important opportunity for everyone across Australia, including those living in the Latrobe Valley and Gippsland, to have their voice heard on the important issue of marriage equality,” he said

“I’m sure the local debate will be respectful and moderate and people will respect one another’s right to hold opposing views.” Mr Chester encouraged Gippslanders to take part in the postal vote and make a decision on what they feel is “the right thing to do”

“I encourage anyone who is undecided on the issue of same sex marriage to inform themselves of the facts and listen critically to the debate,” he said

Visit check.aec.gov.au to check your enrolment.