Wimmera Pride Project founders Maddi Ostapiw and Loucas VettosWIMMERA Pride Project founders have welcomedthe federal government’s commitment to a plebiscite on same-sex marriage.
However, the group believes the money could have been better spent.
The federal government announced $160 million for theplebiscite in the 2016-17 budget on Tuesday.
Wimmera Pride Project, founded by Maddi Ostapiw and Loucas Vettos, is a support network for the region’s LGBT+ community
MsOstapiwsaid the Wimmera Pride Project washappy to finally see the government following through on their idea for a plebiscite.
However, she said the money did nothing to absolve the government of the guilt itshould feel about not doing the morally correct thing and legislating for marriage equality months or even years ago.
“The$160 million is a massive sum of money, and had our politicians not turned the issue of same-sex marriage into a political football, this money could have been spent fixing an issue that actually needs money to be solved,” she said.
“Again, we are happy that LGBT+ people might finally see the end to our lives being debated in the political spectrum, but marriage equality should not come at the financial detriment of higher education, disability or domestic violence services, or any of the other hundreds of problems our society is facing.
“If the government in power had simply had the moral backbone to allow LGBT+ people the same rights afforded to straight, cis-gendered citizens, then the money given to this plebiscite could have been better spent elsewhere.”
Ms Ostapiw said if the federal governmentremained in power afterthe next election, she would look forward to finding out the exact question that would be given to voters in the plebiscite.
“We alsolook forward to finding out how votes will be counted,” she said.
Ms Ostapiw said if the Coalition wasvoted out, shelooked forward to seeing this issue decidedin parliament.
“This will ensureour politicians stop wasting even more taxpayer money on an unnecessary, non-legally binding national plebiscite.”
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