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01 Dec 2017

The AMA has welcomed the strong YES vote from the same sex marriage national postal survey.

A significant 61.6 per cent of respondents voted yes in the voluntary poll, with the results announced on November 15.

All States and Territories voted in favour of marriage equality.

Following the Australian Bureau of Statistics’ announcement of the result, AMA President Dr Michael Gannon said the Federal Parliament had been sent a clear signal.

Parliamentarians must now heed the overwhelming message from the Australian people and legislate for marriage equality, he said.

“It is time to end the discrimination and lift the health burden from our LGBTIQ population,” Dr Gannon said.

“The AMA clearly expressed its support for same sex marriage with our Position Statement on Marriage Equality earlier this year.

“Along with the majority of Australians, as shown by the survey result, the AMA believes that two loving adults should be able to have their relationship formally recognised.

“This is not a debate about same sex parenting or religious freedom or the school curriculum. It is about ending a form of discrimination.

“There are evidence-based health implications arising from discrimination.

“Discrimination has a severe, damaging impact on mental and physiological health outcomes.

“People who identify as LGBTIQ experience substantially poorer mental and physiological health outcomes than the broader population.

“They are more likely to engage in high-risk behaviours such as illicit drug use or alcohol abuse, and have the highest rates of suicidality of any population group in Australia.

“LGBTIQ Australians are our doctors, nurses, teachers, politicians, police officers, mothers, fathers, brothers and sisters and they deserve the same rights as every other person.”

Following the result’s announcement, openly gay Liberal Senator Dean Smith immediately introduced a bill to legalise same-sex marriage.

Debate on the bill began in the Senate the very next day.

"I never believed the day would come when my relationship would be judged by my country to be as meaningful and valued as any other. The Australian people have proven me wrong,” Senator Smith said.

"To those who want and believe in change — and to those who seek to frustrate it — I simply say:

"Don’t underestimate Australia. Don't underestimate the Australian people. Don't underestimate our country's sense of fairness, its sense of decency and its willingness to be a country for all of us.”

Dr Gannon said the AMA wanted to see an end to all forms of discrimination against LGBTIQ Australians.

He said it is now up to our Parliament to act and he hoped to see matter resolved before the end of the year.

“And we urge all Australians to respect the rights of LBGTIQ people, their families, and friends,” Dr Gannon said.

“More than 25 other countries have already passed same sex legislation. Australia should join them.”

The Government delayed the return of the House of Representatives by a week to allow the Senate to pass a bill to make marriage legal.

MPs were put on notice to then expect the Lower House to sit for as long as it takes to deal with the issue.

“The Australian people expect their Parliament to respect the clear mandate of the marriage survey and legislate for marriage equality before the end of the year,” said Leader of the House Christopher Pyne.

But while the Government used the same-sex marriage bill and the dual citizenship fiasco as its excuse to cancel a week of Parliament, the Opposition, the Greens and some independents insisted the delay was to avoid losing a vote for a royal commission into the banking sector.

With the Nationals’ Barnaby Joyce and the Liberals’ John Alexander both exiting Parliament due to their dual citizenship, the Government had no majority on the floor of the House of Representatives until after by-elections in December.


Published: 01 Dec 2017