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April 23, 2021

LGBTIQ rally in Lismore ahead of survey result announcement

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ssm-survey-picThe long march of the marriage equality postal vote survey finally comes to an end this week, with the results to be announced on Wednesday, November 15.

The Australian Statistician, David W Kalisch, will release the results of the Australian Marriage Law Postal Survey at a media conference at 10am on Wednesday.

The Northern Rivers LGBTIQ Alliance has organised an event to coincide with the announcement that will take place at the Quad outside the new Lismore Regional Gallery to witness the results.

A Northern Rivers LGBTIQ Alliance spokesperson said ‘it is important to offer our community the support that will be needed at this historical moment and hopefully the opportunity for celebration as well.’

The event will include speakers Jenny Dowell and Asren Pugh (Australians for Marriage Equality), music performance by Paige Phoenix and friends and a performance piece by Dee Chenille.

At midday there will be a drone photo shoot of a human made love heart to etch this moment into the history of the Northern Rivers.

Food will be provided by the Gallery cafe as well as Haps Health Bar.

Mental health help

It has been a long wait for members of the LGBTIQ communities since registrations to vote in the survey closed on August 24.

The Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) began mailing out survey forms on September 12.

Voters had up until October 11 to request a replacement form if they didn’t receive one and then until last Tuesday, November 7, to get their vote back to the ABS.

The time-consuming, divisive and sometimes traumatising debate has impacted many in the community.

Ahead of Wednesday’s announcement, ACON has launched a new resource to assist members of the community to stay strong, and remind them that support and care is available, whatever the outcome of the public vote.

Produced by ACON’s counselling team, the resource Stronger Together offers practical tips for people on staying strong and resilient in the lead up to, and following, the announcement on 15 November.

ACON says demand for its services has increased across the state in recent weeks, especially in the light of the divisive debate, and the group has responded accordingly to ensure people in LGBTIQ communities get the support they need.

ACON CEO Nicolas Parkhill said support is available for LGBTIQ people who may be feeling overwhelmed and distressed as a result of the marriage equality debate.

‘In the lead up to the announcement of the survey results, we are reminding everyone that support and assistance is there for those who have been hurt by this harmful process,’ Mr Parkhill said.

‘The deeply divisive nature of the debate has left their mark on our communities. A “yes” result will go a long way in healing some of this trauma, but the debate will continue on until the Australian Government enacts reform and ends marriage discrimination.

‘Until that time, it’s imperative we continue to provide support to those who need it.

‘In the unlikely event that things do not go our way, we will all feel despair, anger, resentment, grief and loss. During this time, it’s important to be with those you love, talk about how you feel and remember that we will come through this.

‘This debate has only made our communities stronger and more determined.

‘We will continue to face the bigotry and hatred that comes our way, as we not only have each other, but we have friends and allies on our side. Remember, our communities are resilient and we are stronger together,’ Mr Parkhill said.


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