I’ve coined a new word.
Plebicide, n. Where a person is killed as a result of a “public vote” or the campaign leading up to it.
Unless you’ve had your head in the clouds for the last couple of days, you’re probably aware that there’s a plebiscite afoot.
It’s naturally a delaying tactic by a beleaguered Prime Minister to block Marriage Equality without causing the kind of outright revolt that could cost him the leadership and his party the election. We’ve seen 4 Liberals declare they’ll cross the floor in the last 24 hours. It’s not really working out so well. And why would it? After all, Tony won the case against the ACT’s Same Sex Marriage bill by arguing that it was a power of the Commonwealth Parliament and that the Marriage Act covered the field. He argued that it was a decision the Parliament should make when Ireland had their referendum saying that “questions of marriage are the preserve of the Commonwealth Parliament”. In a time of budget emergencies, a plebiscite is also going to cost us about $100 million dollars… Which credit card is Tony planning to put this glorified opinion poll on?
More concerning than Tony doing what Tony does is that some of our leading advocates over at Australian Marriage Equality have decided to back the idea.
Despite previously slamming referendums for this issue, with National Director Rodney Croome saying “I fear a referendum would become a platform for fear and hatred”, we learn that they now support a plebiscite “on the basis it is at the next election which doesn’t delay it.” according to Deputy Campaign Directory Ivan Hinton-Teoh.
In response to a suggestion by Kevin Rudd back in 2013 about holding a plebiscite, Croome said
“A plebiscite is non- binding, so it also comes back to the politicians’ final decision. So that just means we go through an expensive and divisive process, only to end up where we are now.”
I can’t quite figure out what happened to change their position. The potential for harm and vitriolic debate is still there. It will still be expensive. It will still not guarantee any law to be passed.
The thing I do know, the thing that I understand with painful clarity is that people who come in contact with the vitriolic, shaming, hate-filled messages we see appearing when it’s just politicians voting on the matter have their mental health harmed. Many DiGS people aren’t in the best of mental health as a result of enduring years of homophobia, biphobia, transphobia, etc. For an atrociously high number of these people, the campaign before a plebiscite will be the last straw and we will lose them to plebicide.
Their lives are worth more than, as AME themselves told us, getting us no further along the road to Marriage Equality.
To everyone who isn’t condemning this already, I say:
Every drop of queer blood spilt as a result of the plebiscite is on the hands of not only the liberal party, but those who support their abominable suggestion. When they speak, we die. It is honestly that simple.
I will not be a party to Plebicide.