Concerns for Wagga's LGBTI community ahead of postal vote

Postal vote pain: Wagga mother Katrina Crocker - pictured at a mardi gra parade - fears the postal vote will cause unnecessary pain for no reason.

Postal vote pain: Wagga mother Katrina Crocker - pictured at a mardi gra parade - fears the postal vote will cause unnecessary pain for no reason.

One Wagga woman just wants her marriage to be recognised.

Katrina Crocker was one of 31 same-sex couples to be wed in Canberra in 2013.

After the High Court voided the union, she and her wife were married in New Zealand. 

A member of Rainbow Riverina, Mrs Crocker said the government’s decision, to open the marriage equality debate to a postal vote, was “immoral from woe to go”.

The move has generally been labelled “a dog’s breakfast”, “a waste of Australia’s money” and “an utter stalling tactic”.

See also: ‘Just get it done’: Equality War Fury 

But Mrs Crocker said her biggest concern was the mental wellbeing of those in the community who were most vulnerable. 

It follows Beyond Blue’s alarming statistics, highlighting LGBTI people as having the highest rates of suicide of any population in Australia.

Mrs Crockers said her fears were shared by many others.

“If one person dies because of this plebiscite, it’s way too high a price to pay,” Mrs Crocker said. 

“I want to get married but not at this cost.”

Mrs Crocker said looking at the facts, the postal vote was not compulsory, so only those passionate would vote.  

She said the postal system was unreliable, referring to the recent council voting chaos. 

In addition, the Australian Bureau of Statistics will manage the process and only the “no” vote will be binding, leaving a “yes” vote open to challenge.

But most concerning, she said, was the lack of rules and regulations that would normally govern a voting system, opening the door to malicious campaigning. 

“They have completed vetoed normal, legal parliamentary process,” Ms Crocker said. 

“It’s getting nasty on day one.”

Riverina Greens secretary Ray Goodlass said the vote was an attempt to appease the right wing. 

“It will be ramped up into gay hate speech,” Mr Goodlass said. “I’ve had a taste of that already.”

He said the “dissuasive act” was a “dog-whistle tactic” that would split society and appeal to right-wing supporters.

He said the biggest worry was the campaign material and he hoped the High Court would throw out the “dog’s breakfast” proposal.

“For goodness sake,” Mr Goodlass said.

“Show a spirit of compassion and togetherness.”

If you or anyone you know is seeking crisis support, call the Suicide and Support Group on 1300 133 911, Lifeline on 13 11 14 or Beyond Blue on 1300 22 4636.