HOW SHOULD THE QUESTIONS BE FRAMED?
The plebiscite should be framed in such a way to allow all citizens to send their signal to the Australian Parliament that they, as indispensable contributors to this polity, are committed to a just system of public governance.
Here is Nurturing Justice’s suggestion for the wording of such a plebiscite. It should begin with the citizen’s/voter’s affirmation:
AFFIRMATION: As an Australian citizen casting this vote in this plebiscite I affirm my commitment to the principle that the laws and regulations governing this country should always uphold the dignity of every person and protect them from abuse and threats to life and property regardless of the person’s ethnicity/race, colour of skin, religion, wealth or poverty, sexual orientation, marital status.
QUESTION ONE: Should legislation be framed to redefine civil rights to include marriage as a civil right? YES/NO. If NO no further question.If YES go to 2.
QUESTION TWO: Are you in favour of Parliament amending the Marriage Act to redefine marriage so that the term marriage, as it appears in the laws and regulations of this Commonwealth, be understood as a union for life between two persons? YES/NO
I have formulated this post of Nurturing Justice after watching the August 2nd edition of The Drum on ABC television. Nurturing Justice compliments the ACL spokesperson, Lyle Shelton, for the way he responded “under fire” from a panel that was clearly loaded against his views. I would invite readers to watch the episode and to especially take note of how the presenter conducted herself in the last few minutes. At that point in the panel discussion she seemed to raise vital issues about ACL’s contribution but since it came so close to the end of the programme there was no real chance for Mr Shelton to reply. One hopes the other panellists saw this poor example of “listening” and promoting “respectful conversation”. It may simply have been the presenters “instinct” getting the better of her but it certainly seemed like she wanted an end-of-show attempted knock-out punch? The discussion was biased to emphasise that we are supposedly entering into the “final stages of this issue”. And hence the discussion was framed to effectively ignore Shelton’s efforts to ask: what are we doing to the entirety of our lives by continuing down this mythic path? It’s worth watching I guess to identify the blurring and continued fallacy of misplaced sentimentalism that prevails in this attempt to have the Federal Parliament signal its agreement with the legal error based on an empirical mistake that has been repeated in many other polities around the world.