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Senator wants leftover money from marriage vote to be spent on LGBTI health services

Written by gaytourism

Photo: Facebook via Janet Rice

Australian Senator Janet Rice is the Australian Greens LGBTIQ spokesperson. | Photo: Facebook via Janet Rice

Australia’s Greens Party wants money leftover from the recent postal survey on same-sex marriage to be put towards mental health and support services for LGBTI people.

The survey asked voters if they agreed that the laws should be changed to allow same-sex couples to marry. It was slated to cost around AU$122 million (US$93,535,121).

But on Monday morning the Federal Treasure Scott Morrison revealed the national survey came in just more than AU$40 million (US$30,675,591) under budget. Morrison revealed the data in the six-monthly update of the country’s federal budget in May.

Even though the majority of Australians voted in favor of same-sex marriage and parliament passed it into law less than a month after the survey results were revealed, the campaign during the survey took a massive toll on the LGBTIQ community.

LGBTIQ mental health and support services reported dramatic increases in demand for their services during the two-month long postal survey.

A survey of more than 9,500 LGBTIQ Australians also found that verbal and physical assaults doubled during the postal survey campaign.

Invest money into services

In a statement, the Australian Greens said, ‘while we are all overjoyed about the postal survey result… this survey should never have happened in the first place and it was a huge waste of tax payer money’.

‘There are reports that the marriage equality postal survey came in… under budget,’ said Senator Janet Rice, the Australian Greens LGBTIQ spokesperson.

‘Many LGBTIQ people will remain scarred by the traumatic ordeal the Government has put them through. Mr [Malcolm] Turnbull [Australia’s Prime Minister] could start making amends by investing this [money] into mental health services for LGBTIQ people.

‘LGBTIQ people should never have had to deal with the whole country deciding whether or not they could have the same rights as everyone else, but now that the ordeal is over, we must offer them support.’

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