Australia says YES to marriage equality

Cartoon: gay rights activists from the 1970s pass the baton

61.6% of Australians voted ‘yes’ in a drawn-out national postal survey, floated by conservatives as their last great hope for delay, but ultimately exposing their minority position. Three weeks later, Parliament finally reversed the Howard-era ban on same-sex marriage.

I had the Sydney 78ers in mind when I drew this cartoon. Their protest for gay rights, the first Mardi Gras, when homosexuality was still a crime in NSW, “ended in violence, mass arrests and public shaming at the hands of the police, government and media”.

But the shirt says ’75, as that year marked the beginning of decriminalisation in Australia (thank-you Don Dunstan and gay rights campaigners in South Australia).

After years of wrecking ball politics, the ‘yes’ vote was, as Rebecca Huntley observed, “a welcome sign of life in our demoralised political climate”.


Cartoon: a surprise discovery at the Politics Resource Management Facility

(The Canberra Times, 8 and 9 December 2017 | Gallery of most recent cartoons)