The attempt by a leading figure in the ‘yes’ campaign to use the plight of Indigenous Australians to further the push for same-sex marriage was highly offensive, an Indigenous elder said today. 

Bundjalung Elder Peter Walker said that comparisons between the current postal survey and the 1967 referendum on the inclusion of Indigenous Australians in the population count was inappropriate, particularly given the strong support for traditional marriage amongst Indigenous peoples.

“The 1967 referendum was about whether Indigenous Australians could have a Voice within their Traditional Lands; whether a dispossessed, oppressed unrepresented minority group had the right to a voice.

“For Magda Szubanksi to put the LBGTQI plebiscite on the same level is highly offensive to me as a Aboriginal man and a sad attempt to try to gain moral leverage. The two are completely different issues and are not on the same level.

“Traditional Aboriginal practices on marriage would in fact, be in alignment with the current policy, that is, being a marriage between a man and woman. “Those wanting to change the definition of marriage are welcome to argue their case, but they are not welcome to co-opt the plight of Australia’s First Peoples to do so.

“The Aboriginal peoples speak for ourselves. No one gets to speak for us, and particularly not those who want to use us for political gain.

“The traditional practice of marriage between a man and a woman has served the oldest living civilisation on earth. Therefore, it is on this knowledge, that I will be voting no,” he concluded.