Marriage Equality and Tertiary Education Students & Staff: Suggested Actions

21st August 2017

ALTF news

As you will be aware, there is likely to be a postal survey regarding marriage equality held soon. Encouraging respectful debate is critical, as is encouraging our staff and students to participate in the survey by ensuring they are correctly enrolled to vote.

If you are interested in this issue, the following three points are offered for your consideration:

  1. The NTEU recently issued a statement urging academics to encourage students to enrol to vote. See below. You might share this with first-year program convenors, noting that the enrolment deadline is this Thursday, 24 August 2017.
  2. The VC and Student Arc Chair at UNSW recently issued a joint statement in support of equity, diversity and inclusion and the LGBTQI+ community, and warning against discriminatory behaviour. See also below. You might like to encourage your VC to do the same.
  3. The Australian Psychological Society has an evidence-supported LGBTQI+ issues information webpage (more resources will be added over the coming weeks). You might choose to share this webpage and/or seek to have it added to your own institution’s equity and wellbeing support and resources pages.

Thank you for your consideration.

Kind regards,

Jacky Cranney, Sally Kift and Dawn Bennett


NTEU Email

The deadline for correct enrolment in the national postal survey on marriage equality is 24 August.

NTEU members are in a unique position to help achieve marriage equality by reminding students to enrol to vote and update their details. For this activity, only eight days remain.

NTEU NSW has produced some resources which are available on our website, including:

  1. For teaching staff – a choice of images to insert into a powerpoint slide containing enrolment information so it can be included in lectures delivered to students.
  2. For everyone – a poster for you to print and place where students will see it.

We will add resources to this page as the campaign progresses.

While polling suggests a large majority of Australians support marriage equality, there is no telling what result a voluntary postal survey may deliver unless people are correctly enrolled and participate. In the last national postal ballot, (for the Constitutional Convention in 1997), just 33.9 per cent of people aged 18-25 participated.

NTEU members have long campaigned for marriage equality. What happens in the next eight days could determine the outcome of the postal survey, which could either progress or delay marriage equality.

We also believe our universities, as influential civil society institutions, have an important role to play in the promotion of human rights. We will be encouraging university managements to actively participate in ensuring students and staff are enrolled to vote, and to vote yes for equality.

Equality is union business,

Michael Thomson
State Secretary



UNSW Joint statement

16 August 2017

To the UNSW Community,

With Australian Marriage Equality looking set to move to a postal vote, UNSW is reminding all staff and students of the importance of expressing your views on same sex marriage in a way that respects the rights and opinions of others.

Although the University as an organisation does not take a stance on any political issues, we strongly encourage individual staff and students who are eligible to vote to express their views via the planned plebiscite and to ensure that their enrolment details are up to date.

To enrol to vote, or to check to see if your enrolment details are correct, you need to visit the Australian Electoral Commission. The closing date for the electoral roll is next Thursday, 24 August 2017.

UNSW has a clear and explicit ambition to contribute to equity, diversity and inclusion for students and staff, and to promote equality and diversity in society.  We support our LGBTIQ community through a variety of programs and projects, and we will continue to do so regardless of the outcome of the proposed plebiscite.

Behaviour that is discriminatory, offensive, vilifying or in any other way negatively targets staff or students because of their sexual orientation, gender or sexuality, will not be tolerated at UNSW.

More information on both student and staff codes of conduct are available online.

If you feel that you need support, we would encourage you to contact the free and confidential UNSW Counselling Services (students) or the Employee Assistance Program (staff).

Professor Ian Jacobs
President and Vice-Chancellor
UNSW Sydney

Edward Bartolo
Chair of the Board
Arc @ UNSW