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9 August 2017

Mr Andrew Wallace MP
Member for Fisher
PO Box 1224
BUDDINA QLD 4575

Via email: Andrew.Wallace.MP@aph.gov.au (original via post)

Dear Mr Wallace

MARRIAGE EQUALITY

My name is Mathew Burke. I am a 32 year old Australian citizen, who has recently returned to Australia after
five years in New Zealand. I am presently living in Minyama, and as such am a constituent of yours.

The Government of which you are a part has noted the diversity of sincerely held strong views on the issue
of marriage equality. As my federal representative, I think it best you know my sincerely held strong views
on this issue.

I am a gay male, born and raised in Brisbane. When I was born, in 1985, homosexuality was illegal in
Queensland. When I graduated high school, in 2002, same sex de-facto couples had only been recognised
in Queensland law for a matter of months. When I graduated university, in 2007, same sex de-facto couples
were still not recognised in Federal law. It is only in recent years that the laws in which I am governed by
have seen it fit for me to be a parent, through changes to Queensland laws regarding adoption and
surrogacy. The gay panic defence was only quashed in Queensland in the last twelve months.

In 2009 I held the hand of a man I was infatuated with whilst walking along Ann Street in Brisbane. At the
corner with Edward Street, we kissed farewell, the first time I felt comfortable in showing such a public
display of affection. We were both dressed in business attire; it was 8am on a weekday morning. We
experienced three exclamations of faggot and one of poofter, with no support from the dozens of those
witnesses who remained silent.

I grew up in a time where homosexuality was either seen as a negative, or was invisible. There was no
representation in media, entertainment, or in public. Public discourse varied between that of perversion and
illness. The spectre of AIDS loomed large. The love that dare not speak its name was silly to do so on a
weekday morning in the Brisbane CBD.

I am heartened by the societal progress I have seen over my lifetime, indeed over the past few years. I am
proud in the way Australians have largely moved past hostility, through indifference and tolerance, to
acceptance and welcoming of the LGBTI community. I note numerous polls which see a clear majority of
Australians supporting marriage equality and the LGBTIQ community.

What saddens and sickens me is the stance taken by your Government through the policy of the Liberal
party on marriage equality. In language you will understand

I strongly and sincerely believe:

26 Bangalow Street Minyama QLD 4575


+61 (0)404 216 909 msburke85@gmail.com @dktr_burke
in marriage equality;

that a plebiscite, whether compulsory or postal, is not the way for this issue to be decided;

that this issue should be decided by a conscience vote;

that you should vote in favour in such a conscience vote; and

that the Governments current course of action is a farce.

The fact that the Government continues with the plebiscite policy is of utmost disturbance. Such matters of
social change should not be decided in this way within a parliamentary, representative democracy.
Introduction of no-fault divorce, debates regarding euthanasia, the death penalty, abortion all of which Im
certain had sincerely held strong views on both sites did not see a similar peoples vote. This policy
seeks to avoid and delay the parliamentary debate of this issue. It abdicates your responsibility as my
elected representative.

A plebiscite provides succour and legitimacy for hate and marginalisation dressed up as debate. Already we
have seen the Australian Christian Lobby claim the children of gay and lesbian parents are more prone to
"abuse and neglect. Additionally, former Prime Minister Mr Abbott has called on those who want to protect
religious freedom and reject political correctness to vote no a deliberate ploy to scare, equate this issue
with irrelevant others, and mislead the public in an attempt to prolong inequality further. On day one, these
opponents of equality have already shown themselves incapable of engaging in a respectful debate Mr
Turnbull is assured Australians are capable of.

And, in terms the supposed party of fiscal responsibility would understand, its a waste of money.

Now I know you would contend this policy was a promise that the Government made to the Australian people
at the last election. If you ever chose to respond to this letter, do not include this sentiment as justification for
maintaining the plebiscite policy, because it is hypocrisy at its finest. Since the Coalition was elected in
2013, the Government has abandoned promises on tax, education funding, health funding, the ABC, SBS,
foreign aid, paid parental leave. For an issue that your more conservative colleagues seem to paradoxically
believe is a second order issue, yet deserves a $120-160 million dollar glorified opinion poll, surely this, of all
promises, is one that can be seen to have been discharged.

I strongly and sincerely believe the course of action decided by the Government on this issue is a farce. I am
encouraged that advocates of change have decided to challenge the Governments ability to undertake this
postal plebiscite in the High Court. I wish them well on this challenge.

However, I realise that the likelihood of this policy changing is slim to none, and a postal plebiscite remains a
distinct possibility. My hope is that the issue comes to a conscience vote before the Parliament in the very
near future. I further hope that any public vote which regrettably arises through this policy is undertaken with
respect and minimal damage, however nave this hope may be.

What comforts me is that the tide of history is on my side. I know this issue will (eventually, and despite this
policy) come before Parliament, and that marriage equality will become a reality in Australia. When it does,
as my local member, I would like you to vote in favour. If you are against this, I remind you of your words in
your maiden address to Parliament

I am also greatly blessed to have the unceasing love and support of my wife, Leonie, and our four
daughters: Emma, Caroline, Rebecca and Sarah, all of whom have made the journey to Canberra
today from far and wide. Over the past 27 years of marriage, as a family we have stuck together,
through thick and thin, in good times and in bad, in sickness and in health.

and ask you this: What quality do you believe I lack in denying me the ability to say the same? Why is my
love worth less than yours?

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Further, I would like to thank seven of your colleagues for their strength and dignity in their advocacy for a
free vote Messrs Zimmerman, Entsch, Evans, Smith, Wilson, Wood and Alexander and I implore them to
keep fighting the good fight.

Thank you for taking the time to consider my thoughts on these issues. I look forward to your advocacy on
them and would welcome any response you deem appropriate.

Regards

Mathew Burke

msburke85@gmail.com

Courtesy copies provided via email:

The Hon. Malcolm Turnbull MP The Hon. Bill Shorten MP


Prime Minister Leader of the Opposition
Malcolm.Turnbull.MP@aph.gov.au Bill.Shorten.MP@aph.gov.au

Senator The Hon. George Brandis Australian Marriage Equality


Attorney-General allofus@equalitycampaign.org.au
Senator.Brandis@aph.gov.au

PFLAG Australia Rodney Croome


info@pflagaustralia.org.au rodney.croome@equal.org.au

Senator Anthony Chisolm Sunshine Coast Daily


Senator.Chisolm@aph.gov.au letters@scnews.com.au

Senator Chris Ketter Senator Barry OSullivan


Senator.Ketter@aph.gov.au Senator.OSullivan@aph.gov.au

Senator James McGrath Senator Claire Moore


Senator.McGrath@aph.gov.au Senator.Moore@aph.gov.au

Senator Malcolm Roberts (the living soul) Senator The Hon. Ian Macdonald
Senator.Roberts@aph.gov.au Senator.Macdonald@aph.gov.au

Senator Murray Watt Senator Larissa Waters


Senator.Watt@aph.gov.au Senator.Waters@aph.gov.au

Senator Pauline Hanson Senator The Hon. Matthew Canavan


Senator.Hanson@aph.gov.au Senator.Canavan@aph.gov.au

Senator Dean Smith Mr John Alexander MP


Senator.Smith@aph.gov.au John.Alexander.MP@aph.gov.au

The Hon. Warren Entsch MP Mr Trevor Evans MP


Warren.Entsch.MP@aph.gov.au Trevor.Evans.MP@aph.gov.au

Mr Tim Wilson MP Mr Jason Wood MP


Tim.Wilson.MP@aph.gov.au Jason.Wood.MP@aph.gov.au

Mr Trent Zimmerman MP
Trent.Zimmerman.MP@aph.gov.au