AS marriage equality surveys hit letterboxes, Perth MP John Carey is urging Yes campaigners to stay respectful.
“We need to maintain a respectful debate, despite what the opposition does,” he says.
“Do not belittle, mock, or antagonise No voters in any forum.”
The gay Labor MP says he’s stopped looking at social media because whenever there’s a news story about the survey, people start throwing virtual punches at each other.
“Clearly I support marriage equality, and personally I always thought the postal survey was a waste of money, there’s so many better things we could be spending $122 million on,” he says. “But my message is don’t belittle, mock or criticise someone’s who’s got an alternative viewpoint…it isn’t going to get anyone to change their mind.
“Just because someone’s voting No, I don’t take the position that they’re homophobic. Others may be surprised, but I don’t. There are people with traditional religious views, and I don’t take the position that they’re homophobic.”
Mr Carey says he also doesn’t accept the “unfair myth” that the No campaign has been silenced.
“Everywhere you look people are advocating both yes and no, from opinion columns to Twitter,” he says.
“I think both sides are being given ample opportunities to make their case”.
The former Vincent mayor says the best way to talk to someone is “one-on-one conversations, people talking about their personal experience and why they support marriage equality, but being respectful and courteous. Having those one-on- one conversations is critical, not having fights on social media with people who are adamantly No, or belittling or mocking the alternative viewpoint.”
If you don’t get your survey form by September 25 you can contact the Australian Bureau of Statistics and ask to get a replacement sent out (the barcode on the old one will become invalid).
by DAVID BELL