Protest or Petition

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When it comes to fighting for our rights, do we play nice, and sign petitions, or get angry, and stage protests and demonstrations? Does either one help?

Protests

Tonight there will a protest at a book launch featuring two of the most outspoken anti-gay people in Australia: David Van Gend and George Christensen. With student and trade union involvement, it’s bound to be a lively affair. But will it help or hinder the cause of marriage equality?

The right wing press has been all over the Accor Hotel incident, where LGBTI protestors are alleged to have made threats of death and violence against hotel staff if they allowed a Wannsee Conference style event to go ahead, at which all the organisations opposed to our equality would gather to plot their plebiscite NO campaign.

Questions that have so far gone unanswered include:

  • How does the hotel know the callers really were LGBTI people and not troublemakers from the NO camp?
  • Did the hotel record the calls, or keep a record of the incoming numbers?
  • Were the police called, and what did they do?
  • How often does the hotel field threats against other meetings they host?

It’s been trumpeted by The Australian as proof that we are the ones incapable of respectful debate, and prompted them to publish a cartoon by brain-damaged artist Bill Leak depicting us as rainbow coloured “Waffen-SSM”.

I thought “may as well be hung for a sheep as for a lamb”, hence the gratuitous and OTT Wannsee and brain damage references above. Give them a taste of how we feel.

So far there have been no reports of advertisers pulling out of the Australian in protest.

Meanwhile the paper totally ignored, in print at least, a bomb threat against Melbourne LGBTI radio station Joy 94.9, which caused a full evacuation and Police sweep of the premises.

Petitions

The media also largely ignored the delivery to parliament of a joint GetUp-AME petition with more than 65,000 signatures, calling for marriage now and no plebiscite. Despite the large and expensive publicity and campaigning machine AME have built in A4E. So what’s a girl to do?

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Sign another petition, click here, that’s what. This one is from Ivan Hinton-Teoh and the gang at just.equal, hosted by AllOut. The big difference to the previous one is that this is a global petition, open to anyone, not just Aussies, and it’s powering along to its target of at least 100,000 signatures, ahead of presentation at the next sitting of parliament in October. And of course, it will presented with full public fanfare.  They say:

 It’s useless. It’s wasteful. It’s harmful. Help stop the plebiscite! Sign All Out & just.equal’s global petition & please share this posting: https://go.allout.org/en/a/stop-the-vote-australia

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About the author

Veteran gay writer and speaker, Doug was one of the founders of the UKs pioneering GLBTI newspaper Gay News (1972) , and of the second, Gay Week, and is a former Features Editor of Him International. He presented news and current affairs on JOY 94.9 FM Melbourne for more than ten years.

“Doug is revered, feared and reviled in equal quantities, at times dividing people with his journalistic wrath. Yet there is no doubt this grandpa-esque bear keeps everyone abreast of anything and everything LGBT across the globe.” (Daniel Witthaus, “Beyond Priscilla”, Clouds of Magellan, Melbourne, 2014)