Former frontman of Australian band Savage Garden, Darren Hayes has written an open letter to Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull, urging him not to waste taxpayer money on a gay marriage plebiscite which will be nothing more than “an opinion poll”.
Hayes criticises the Prime Minister and the Liberal party for their continued inaction on marriage equality. “You are the leader of one of the most progressive and fortunate nations in the world and yet your government still denies equality to LGBT people.”
He goes on to list the other things that the money could be spent on, things that would actually benefit all Australians, and calls out Turnbull for continuing to force gay and LGTB people to feel like second class citizens in their own country
“You are about to waste 160 million hard earned Australian tax dollars on what is essentially an opinion poll even though you’re aware, as are all Australians, that an estimated 72 percent of the nation is already in favor of equal marriage. Imagine what you could do with that money instead? For starters, you could spend it on mental health care – for all of those people who are depressed or suicidal as a result of living in a world where they are considered second class citizens.”
Later, Hayes outlines how his own experiences with bullying and torment almost cost him his life, and that at the time he came out “to be gay felt to me like a death sentence”.
He then urges Turnbull to be “on the right side of history”, and to use the position he is in to “protect and serve all of us but especially those with the least power.”
“As a gay Australian who has proudly represented his country globally, it saddens me that my marriage is recognized both in the United Kingdom and in The United States but means nothing in my country of birth.
“You have the power to tell those who wish to harm LGBT people they are in the minority and that society at large does not support hate. You have that power.”
Turnbull has had a tough time of it this week, with the PM slammed by South African/Australian singer Troye Sivan for failing to address the LGTB community in his response to the tragic Orlando nightclub shooting last Friday.
Sivan criticised the Prime Minister via Twitter for saying that the attack was an attack on ‘all of us’ when gay marriage is still not legal in Australia.
Hayes too echoes that sentiment. “Denying equality at the highest level implies a tacit support of discrimination which trickles down to all. I understand you personally support equal marriage and you have condemned and sympathized with the victims of these recent hate crimes and I commend you for that. Unfortunately you also lead a government who to this day refuses to grant equality to all.”
Read Darren Hayes’ letter to the PM in full below.