At the risk of stating the obvious, it’s been a messy few months for the Federal Government. The effects have trickled down to the local level as councils have been hauled into the debate around the same-sex marriage postal survey. Aside from the foreseeable disputes over whether or not to fly rainbow flags over civic buildings, there have been some creative responses. To show their support for the yes vote, Tweed Shire Council scheduled a screening of Priscilla Queen of the Desert open to all residents with funds raised to go to youth mental health organisation Headspace. Elsewhere, the Inner West Council and City of Sydney declared their council buildings would be available free of charge for same-sex weddings for 100 days should the legislation be passed. Not all councils agree that it is local government’s place to take a stand, of course, and tensions have played out in many areas as a result. Now that votes have been sent in, all that’s left is to wait for the results to be announced later this month. If it comes out as a ‘yes’ – as polls are showing – and a subsequent vote is held in parliament, the machinations of the Liberal Government will be put on full display and the circus will roll on.
In other news, now that the High Court has ruled on the Citizenship Seven, Local Government Minister Fiona Nash is out of a job. She will be replaced by the current Minister for Transport and Infrastructure Darren Chester who holds the seat of Gippsland in Victoria for the Nationals. Coincidentally, Minister Chester made headlines in 2015 as the first Nationals MP to publically support a parliamentary conscious vote on same-sex marriage, in which he said he would vote yes.