Here's the full summary of the LGBTIQ Plebiscite Survey.
The survey commenced at 4pm Thursday 21 July 2016 and closed midnight (23:59pm) Thursday 28 July 2016. In order to ensure participants were recruited from the widest cross-section of the LGBTIQ community possible, a number of different recruitment strategies were employed. Content First, an Australian professional marketing strategy company, was contracted to advertise the survey on Facebook, targeting LGBTIQ Australians from all age groups, states and territories. As not all individuals engage on Facebook, the survey was also advertised in the three largest LGBTIQ news and magazine websites: The Gay News Network, LOTL Magazine, and Same Same. To ensure we reached an even broader section of the community, emails advertising the survey were sent to LGBTIQ religious groups, sporting clubs, business networks, parenting groups and social clubs. This multi-mode recruitment strategy and the resulting demographic distribution of the 5, 463 participants indicates the responses are representative of a broad cross-section of the Australian LGBTIQ community.
Participants were first asked whether they supported or opposed a plebiscite on marriage equality in this country. Results based on 5,463 participants showed:
- 84.7% opposed a plebiscite (of which 71.5% strongly opposed it)
- 9.9% supported a plebiscite (of which 6.5% strongly supported it)
- 5.4% were undecided. – See Figure 4
A large majority opposing a plebiscite was consistent across gender, age group, and residence.
- 86.7% of men and 82.7% of women were opposed
- In states and territories, the numbers opposed ranged from 79.4% (WA) to 90.3% (TAS)
- In terms of age group, those opposed ranged from 72.4% (18-24) to 91.2% (65+).
Participants were then informed that plebiscites are not binding on Parliament. This was followed by a question on their preference for a plebiscite or a vote by politicians in Parliament.
- 89.1% supported a vote by politicians in Parliament, with no plebiscite
- 7.7% supported a plebiscite
- 3.2% were undecided – See Figure 5
The increase from 84.7% (before being informed that a plebiscite is not binding in Parliament) to 89.1% after being informed, suggest most participants were already well informed about this matter.
[A separate subsample, constituting 8.6% of the overall sample, while still wanting marriage equality, did not want a plebiscite or a vote in Parliament. Based on responses provided at the end of the survey, many were under the impression marriage equality could be legalised without a vote in Parliament by means of the Courts (e.g. through a Bill of Rights) or through the Prime Minister simply signing it into law. As neither of these options is possible in Australia, this group is presented as a separate subsample for all questions except the first question on whether they supported or opposed a plebiscite – see Figures 5-8 for details].
When asked about their preference if the Government was to refuse to allow a vote in Parliament, without holding a plebiscite first:
- 57.8% reported that they would rather wait until marriage equality can be voted on in Parliament, without the need to hold a plebiscite first
- 29.7% stated that they would prefer to conduct a plebiscite as soon as possible
- 12.5% reported they were undecided – See Figure 6
Participants were also asked about their preference if the plebiscite was to be worded fairly and had a good chance of returning a positive vote for marriage equality, despite a negative campaign by those opposed. In this case:
- 62.6% reported that they would still rather wait until marriage equality can be voted on in Parliament, without the need to hold a plebiscite first
- 28.8% stated that they would prefer to conduct a plebiscite as soon as possible
- 8.6% reported they were undecided – See Figure 7
When asked what they would like advocacy groups to focus on in the quest for marriage equality in Australia:
- 78.3% wanted advocacy groups to work to stop a plebiscite and instead work for a successful vote by politicians in Parliament (of this group the majority wanted advocacy groups to stop the plebiscite as a priority).
- 15.90% wanted advocacy groups to work on a “Yes” campaign for a plebiscite
- 5.84% reported they were undecided – See Figure 8
A large majority of LGBTIQ adult Australians taking part in the survey were strongly opposed to a plebiscite. Even when ask to consider a plebiscite that was likely to succeed in returning a positive vote, or consider it as the only option provided by the current Government, the majority reported they would prefer to wait until it could be voted on in Parliament. In fact, the large majority wanted advocacy groups to focus on stopping a plebiscite, and in most cases as a priority. Based on clarification provided by participants at the end of the survey, this strong opposition to a plebiscite appears to mainly be due to 1) the perceived inappropriateness of conducting a popular vote over the rights of a minority group and 2) the anxiety associated with being exposed to a plebiscite media campaign of those opposed to marriage equality in this country.
The full report is available here.