Updated: Sep 6, 2018
Australia, the land of perfect beaches, sprawling vistas and persistent inequality. Thought of by most as a tourist haven, crawling with unique, adorable wildlife and laid back folk. You’d be amiss to think a friendly ‘G’day’ was a national stereotype and not the prevalent amicable greeting it is. Not only have they produced such living legends as Kylie Minogue, Dani Minogue and Bindi Irwin, they have a functioning public transport system, their own airline and are home to the world’s foremost cafe culture. It’s easy to see how one might construe this prosperous nation as a first world country. Yet as developed and plentiful as Oz may seem, their ‘Liberal’ government has yet to achieve marriage equality. Their lack of equality rendering their claim to first world status as a bit of a joke, mate!
For decades now Australia has been shouting into a void for recognition as a major player on the world stage, despite being just so damn far away and still not having achieved the most basic steps towards equality. Sure they have that nice weather and one or two major landmarks (some of which have only recently been returned to their rightful indigenous owners) but a nation that is yet to achieve marriage equality can hardly be described as a ‘first world nation,’ or progressive to any extent, for that matter.
Their closest neighbour New Zealand instituted marriage equality in 2013. What with the stratospheric rise of Lorde and ‘flat whites’ Australia should be looking to NZ for guidance. The United Kingdom enacted marriage equality under a conservative government, cementing their place on the list of first world nations. Ireland held the first successful public vote on marriage equality with an overwhelmingly positive result. Canada is a frontrunner on social progression thanks in no small part to dreamy Prime Minister Justin Trudeau; Germany recently passed marriage equality into legislation, Germany! And despite being in a retrogressive spiral the US maintains the right for same sex couples to marry.
Across the globe homosexuality remains illegal in a swathe of countries, a total of 74. Even punishable by death in thirteen nations, such as Iran, Saudi Arabia, Yemen, Afghanistan, Pakistan and parts of Somalia, Nigeria and Iraq. And yes Australia is a cut above these as far as public and legal attitudes but if they really want to contend on a global scale then an example of acceptance and equality must be set. If as a nation they condemn these archaic laws then steps must be taken to distance themselves. And this is most obviously achieved by letting people marry whoever the hell they want to. Australia it’s time to throw another shrimp on the barbie!
The conversation around marriage equality in Australia has recently been embroiled in talks of a plebiscite. A vote by the population for or against marriage equality, not unlike a referendum, only the Government has no further obligation post-plebiscite to act on the population’s wishes. This vote is expected to cost upwards of $160 million and could result in marriage in-equality no matter the result. Talk around the plebiscite continues despite polls showing 63% of the population are already in favour of queer people marrying. It seems the majority of Australian’s are ready and willing to join the rest of us in the first world while the government is sat like a shag on a rock.
Here at Hurling Fruits we’re aware that things aren’t perfect at home. There is a long road to go towards a truly progressive society. But we can only roll our eyes at Australia as it continues to claim first world status. Never before has such a developed nation seemed so like a toddler crying out for attention. If you want to join the free world it’s time to get moving on equality for all your people. Until then feel free to hang out on the ass end of the globe, by yourself, and if it’s not too much trouble could you take Russell Crowe with you?
Aussie, Aussie, Aussie, Oi! Oi! Oi!
*This article was written before the positive result and resulting legalisation of same sex marriage which took place in Australia in December 2017.