Left Wing, Right Wing: Thoughts from the Politics Editor

Australians have voted overwhelmingly in an advisory survey to legalise same-sex marriage across the country. An eight-week postal vote was conducted and 61.6 per cent of voters opted “yes for love”, in the words of Prime Minister Malcolm Turnball. Turnball pledged to “get on with it and get this done, this year, before Christmas.” It is hoped by campaigners that legislation will be introduced to Parliament in the coming days.

As the poll was a postal survey conducted by the government and not an election administered by the Electoral Commission, there was not a legal necessity to vote. Despite this, over 12.7 million people and about 79.5 per cent of eligible voters took part. I suspect this might not be enough for A C Grayling, though, and I await his demands for a rerun.

This past week our own YUSU hosted an enjoyable ‘Big Debate’ on the rise of so-called ‘snowflake culture’. The wave of liberation across the West has come because of persistent hard-fought battles to change minds and hearts one person at a time. The very notion of relations between members of the same sex caused popular revulsion as recently as a few of decades ago and it was by minority voices fighting for a platform that progress was achieved.

The diversity of ideas can be as much a source of strength as our diversity of identity. It is by the free arena of courteous debate that the best ideas find triumph and the worst are discarded; not by no-platforming and censorship. It is by such debate that we have arrived at a unique time in modern history when such diversity of identity is both accepted and cherished.

It is by the clash of ideas that society moves forward, much as we now hope it will do in Australia before the year is done with same-sex marriage. I commend YUSU for demonstrating the virtue of open debate, and I congratulate Australia on its historic move towards a more equitable life for its citizens. Let us safeguard our noble Western tradition from degradation sure in the knowledge that we all benefit from it.

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