The two Illawarra mayors joined with the national Yes campaign leader on Friday to declare their strong support for marriage equality.
Wollongong Lord Mayor Gordon Bradbery and Shellharbour mayor Marianne Saliba met with the executive director of Australians for Equality, Tiernan Brady, who successfully led the Irish Yes campaign to victory in 2015.
A fired up Cr Bradbery, said the postal survey was “the most ridiculous situation of all, when we have to vote on human rights”.
“It represents the gutless nature of our federal politicians,” he said.
He also rejected the anti-marriage equality notion that marriage was “about making babies”.
“It is about solidarity with another human being, and an opportunity where two people can say, this person is special to me, regardless of who they are,” Cr Bradbery said.
“I have to back, and affirm, all the people of Wollongong in their rights and opportunities – as the Lord Mayor of this city, I just think this is a no brainer. Vote yes, simply because it creates opportunities for another section of our community to find life and fulfillment.”
I just think this is a no brainer. Vote yes, simply because it creates opportunities for another section of our community to find life and fulfillment.- Lord Mayor Gordon Bradbery
Likewise, Cr Saliba – who has worked on phone banks to talk to people about voting yes in the past few weeks – said she believed everyone had the right to be treated equally.
Asked about how he though the campaign was tracking, Mr Brady said he had been buoyed by the strong early voting turnout figures of 57.5 per cent.
“It’s genuinely going really well, you can see it in the turn out,” Mr Brady said.
“Already, more people have voted in this than in the American presidential election or the French presidential election, so this will certainly be the voice of the people.”
“My feeling is that it’s going to be very similar to Ireland – the turnout is going to be bigger than in Ireland … and I think a big turnout bodes well for yes, because every poll for the last 10 years has said people are for marriage equality in Australia.
“The more people who vote, the more reflective the vote will be of the will of the people.”
With weeks left to go before the survey closes, Mr Brady said one of the keys to Yes success would be getting people who would be willing to vote for marriage equality to actually post their votes.
“If it’s sitting on your kitchen table, don’t think someone else’s vote is going to win this – you’ve got to get it in the post box,” he said.