IAN Thorpe and his partner Ryan Channing have released a new video urging Australians to vote in next month’s postal plebiscite on whether to legalise gay marriage.
The Olympic swimming champ is making a last-ditch effort to get Australians to update their electoral roll details before the list is finalised this Thursday ahead of the postal ballot.
In the video, he challenges Channing to swim 100m in the time it takes to update his details online.
“If you support marriage equality you need to enrol to vote or update your details by midnight August 24,” Thorpe says.
After the pair prove it takes less than a minute to update your enrolment details online, Channing says: “Every Australian should have the right to take the plunge with the person they love”.
More than 215,800 Australians have updated their details and more than 16,990 people have been added to the roll in just a week since the postal vote was announced, the Australian Electoral Commission confirmed last week.
You can watch the video above.
ABBOTT’S FEUD WITH HIS SISTER
THE Abbott family feud has flared again after Tony Abbott claimed legalising gay marriage would be a ‘big leap’ into the dark for Australia.
Mr Abbott’s sister Christine Forster hit back at his remarks, saying they were trying to instil fear and “obfuscate” the issue.
It comes as a new poll shows most Australians will vote ‘Yes’ in the upcoming postal plebiscite.
“This isn’t just about marriage,” Mr Abbott told Sydney radio 2GB this morning.
“Sure, marriage is the immediate focus but there are lots and lots of implications here and we’ve got to think them through before we take this big leap into what I think is the dark,” he said.
He also warned curriculum programs such as Safe Schools would follow if same-sex marriage was introduced here.
“I really hope every single Australian, particularly people who are concerned about where our country is going, has their say,” Mr Abbott told 2GB.
“And the best way of standing up for traditional values, the best way of saying that you don’t like the direction our country is heading in right now is to get that ballot paper out and vote ‘No’.”
Ms Forster took to social media shortly after the interview to slam her brother’s comments.
“Those trying to link the vote on same-sex marriage with religious freedom are simply seeking to obfuscate and instil fear,” she said.
“Nothing will come in its wake except a lot of people who love each other will get married.”
Liberal MP Tim Wilson said religious freedoms would be considered by the parliament after the vote.
“A vote for ‘Yes’ is a vote for the Parliament to then properly consider these issues, balancing out the need for same-sex couples to be able to access civil marriage while also making sure that we protecting religious liberty,” he told Sky News.
Voting ‘No’ would handball the issue to Labor and the Greens, he said.
The former prime minister’s warning was somewhat backed by the special Newspoll today, which also showed a majority of Australians wanted Parliament to legislate to protect religious freedoms if same-sex marriage was made legal.
The poll, conducted for The Australian less than a month out from the postal plebiscite, shows 63 per cent of Australians are planning to vote ‘Yes’.
It also shows 67 per cent of Australians are “definitely” going to vote, putting to rest fears a low response to the plebiscite could jeopardise the result.
A further 15 percent of respondents said they “probably” would vote in the poll.
The poll showed most Australians (62 percent) wanted parliament to include protections for religious freedoms in any legislation to legalise same-sex marriage.
Lobby groups, MPs and church leaders urging Australians to vote ‘No’ in the upcoming plebiscite have made this central to their campaign.
Australians have until Thursday to update their electoral details to receive a ballot for the postal plebiscite.
The postal plebiscite, to be run by the Australian Bureau of Statistics, must also be ruled legal by the High Court before ballots can be sent out on September 12.
BIG BUSINESS STAYING OUT OF THE CAMPAIGN
Corporate Australia will not be actively joining the ‘Yes’ campaign in the lead-up to next month’s postal plebiscite.
Most major companies that have publicly called for same-sex marriage in the past will be staying out of the fight and will not support the ‘Yes’ campaign financially or with advertising.
Aside from adding their brand to the list of supporters in the past, many major companies will simply be encouraging Australians to have their say.
The heads of ANZ, Optus, Holden, Deloitte Access Economics, Football Federation Australia, Telstra and REA were among more than two dozen major corporations to write to the Prime Minister in March urging the Australian Parliament to introduce same-sex marriage as soon as possible.
The companies have confirmed to NewsCorp over the past week that they will not be actively lobbying for either side.
“I signed the letter in March in my personal capacity and my personal view is to support the Yes campaign,” she said.
A Holden spokesman said: “While not financially active in this particular campaign, Holden has been a public supporter of marriage equality for some time now.”
“It’s important that Australians have the opportunity to have their say on this issue.”
An Optus spokesman said: “Optus supports diversity, inclusion and choice. The issue of the proposed postal plebiscite is a matter for individuals.”
A Telstra spokesman said: “Telstra has long advocated and often pioneered the fostering of a more supportive, diverse workplace. As a supporter of marriage equality, we continue to show our support of diversity, inclusion and equality, while recognising and respecting the right of the individual to hold their own view on this issue.”
Mr Joyce urged other businesses to do the same.
“There are 1300 companies that have published their logo to support marriage equality including all the banks, all the airlines and I believe that those companies should go out there and support it,” Mr Joyce said.
“They have given their logos and support to that campaign before and I have no doubt a large element of the business community will be out there supporting this campaign.”
Mr Joyce said he was disappointed the government turned to a postal ballot rather than just decide the issue in Parliament.
“I believe we have to get behind it and make sure that we have a ‘Yes’ vote and certainly I will be out there strongly campaigning for a ‘Yes’ vote,” he said.
“I think it is very important for our employees, for our customers and for our shareholders and that is why Qantas is a supporter of marriage equality, why we’re a supporter of gender equality and why we’re a supporter of indigenous rights.
“We believe these social issues are very important of all of our stakeholders and are very important for this country and we will be active out there and supporting a yes vote.”