Go read today’s article for a globally minded take on the survey results. If you get the urge, and I hope you do, tell me what you think Australia has discovered about its politics and its sense of self through all of this at firstname.lastname@example.org and in our subscriber Facebook group.
Now here are a few of those outtakes, followed by a roundup of other Timesian work and a recommendation.
An Ugly Process
“The fact that a referendum on an issue such as equal access to marriage is allowed is in itself a problem with respect to the notion of democracy: as democracies, we rely on majorities to make decisions, and this gives us the enormous responsibility of protecting minorities and never allowing majorities to make decisions on fundamental rights of minorities.
Like other countries, Australia is a mix of people with very different beliefs, but this debate is a chance to become a better democracy through the recognition of the diverse identities of Australians and of the responsibility of establishing rules to protect the rights of minorities, and showing that these rights can never be subject to discretionary behavior.”
— Paulo Corte-Real, a Portuguese activist and economist who helped lead Portugal to approve same-sex marriage in 2009
A Weaker Right?
“It shows the influence of the conservative right is overstated because of their control of particular places in the media and the political hierarchies. And I think it gives some sort of hope to people that would like to see an opportunity to challenge the conservative right on issues like climate change, potentially — and also on issues like the treatment of refugees.
Just because the conservative voices control the network that a certain former Australian runs, it doesn’t mean it’s insurmountable to win those arguments.”
— Peter Lewis, progressive pollster with Essential Media Communications, a public affairs and research company
Love and ‘No’
“The same-sex marriage lobby have never really let the ‘no’ side express their case before. In the media and journalism, no offense, if you’re against gay marriage it’s a very negative thing in the profession.
Now the postal vote has occurred, we’re allowed to express our case. I think they’re freaking out over that, they’re not used to opposition. I think for the L.G.B.T.I. community, they’ve been sold a lie and if we disagree with same-sex marriage we hate them. But you can still disagree with someone and still love a person.”
— Rob Assaf, 21, university student and “no” voter
Gay and Opposed to Marriage
“When I came out, being gay was about nonconformity and being different and not being the same as everyone else in society. Marriage is the ultimate in conformity. It’s just not my thing.
They’ve been saying it’s all about equality, but to me it’s just sameness. I’m not knocking anyone that wants to get married and I’m not denying anyone who wants to do that. But in Australia, same-sex couples already have all the legal protections.
And we’re such a small minority, who are we to change anything that is important to a lot of people?”
— Ben Rogers, 41, Wollongong
A Painful Process
“This process of raising the issue with the Australian public — the process — was incredibly harmful. The process was incredibly divisive. I received hate mail in my mailbox. I walked to work one day and saw the word ‘no’ skywritten in the sky.
Some of my friends who are older, who I would say have PTSD because of homophobic hate crimes they experienced in the ’80s and ’90s, this experience certainly triggered that PTSD and caused them a great deal of harm and torture.
Witnessing that was incredibly difficult.”
— Rohan Spong, a gay documentary filmmaker, whose film “All The Way Through Evening” is returning to Australian screens this month
Australia This Week
We’ve been busy covering the results of the postal survey — but we’re multitaskers. Don’t miss this deep dive on the ways that Chinese nationalism and academics have been clashing in Australian universities.
Besha Rodell’s latest restaurant review will make you hungry and teach you a thing or two about the power of late-night Korean food in Melbourne. I’ll also have a major feature from my trip to Manus Island running in the next few days. I may send it to all of you as an Australia Letter “extra.”
The Soda Wars
The debate over taxing sugary drinks has turned into a ferocious global policy brawl. In Colombia, proponents faced intimidation and censorship.
Dr. Esperanza Cerón, director of a group that campaigned for a tax on sugary drinks, experienced it firsthand. When she spoke up, Colombia’s consumer protection agency barred her from talking about the link between sugar and obesity.
It’s the latest installment of The New York Times’s Planet Fat series … and there may be an Australian piece on the way.
Opinion | Selections
• Why Men Aren’t Funny lays out why Louis C.K.’s downfall is a notable step in a patriarchal industry.
• From Journalist to Hostage tells the story of Michael Scott Moore, a journalist who was kidnapped by Somali pirates, to ask: Who pays the price if countries refuse to pay ransoms?
• Explaining Our Bodies, Finding Ourselves captures two poets, weary of explaining their disabilities to the world, finding solace in each other.
… And We Recommend
You care about the planet, right? I bet you wade through as much climate coverage as you can, but you could probably use a smart guide or two to help you make sense of it all.
Good news. We’ve got a new newsletter for you. It’s called Climate Fwd: (with the colon) and it’s anchored by Lisa Friedman and Brad Plumer, two writers for The New York Times covering climate change.
“It’s a giant topic that touches on everything from science to global politics to energy markets to the way we eat and drive and plan our cities,” they write in their introduction. “Our hope here is to make climate issues more accessible, bit by bit.”