Expect respect

The roll out of the postal plebiscite in the coming weeks will give an interesting snapshot into how mature Australian society has become.
While the issue may not be the prime focus for the overwhelming majority (power prices, job security, housing affordability clearly are more prominent for most), it does have the power to highlight just where our modern Australian has landed.
It is hoped that the spectre of a nasty, vindictive same sex marriage debate is avoided.
This can largely be achieved if those inhabiting the extremes of the issue operate in a respectful, calm and honest manner – both in what they say and how they respond to those with opposing views.
Irrespective of the final outcome, the next few months could be a great result for Australia.
If we can negotiate this tricky social debate without descending into an ugly fight then we will have achieved a remarkable outcome.
Just whether that is the case remains to be seen, but Australians should remember we have avoided such pitfalls in the past with great dexterity and have moulded ourselves into an inclusive and respectful multi-cultural society that is the envy of the world.
Sure, there have been plenty of hiccups along the way, but the manner in which this nation has welcomed so many different people from all over the world and united the overwhelming majority is truly remarkable.
Each of our new citizens – whether arriving from Syria, Sudan or Scotland – bring with them a host of principles, practices and prejudices which can seem bizarre to others.
Some may have been brought up in a culture where female genital mutilation is a regular part of achieving womanhood, where a woman should never be alone in the company of a male non-relative or where drinking 15 pints of lager and vomiting outside the pub on the way home is just a regular Saturday night out.
Most are willing to change as almost all who arrive on our shores accept that this society, as imperfect as it is, offers a far better life for themselves and their children.
The bottom line is we all get a say in this current debate.
Let’s not abuse the privilege.

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