U.S. comedian John Oliver has ripped apart Australia’s same-sex marriage survey in a way that only someone from outside the country can.
Appearing on his talk show Last Week Tonight, Oliver started by calling the survey an “odd thing to do” because polling already exists that shows the majority of Australians are in favour of same sex marriage. “Yes, parliament could just pass it into law. But it hasn’t,” he told his audience.
Things escalated rapidly from there.
It’s a “non legally binding voluntary public postal vote at a public cost of $122 million dollars”, he explained.
Oliver called it “the weirdest waste of Australian money since every Baz Luhrmann movie ever made”. Ouch.
He went onto criticise the ‘no’ campaign for its nonsensical and damaging messaging. The examples he used were excruciating.
There was member of parliament Kevin Andrews, who appeared on Sky News saying “affectionate” relationships are okay, but they don’t have to involve marriage. “I have an affectionate relationship with my cycling buddies,” Andrews said, seeming to miss the point of same sex marriage entirely.
“You know… we do f*ck,” Oliver joked.
Then there was Sophie York from the lobby group ‘Marriage Alliance’.
In the snippet Oliver showed, York opened her presentation to a group of lobbyists with this welcome: “Ladies and gentleman – if I may still use that term in these genderfluid times”, before suggesting same-sex marriage should be called ‘garriage’ instead.
“‘Garriage’ – that is a stupid word,” Oliver went in. “Except the very rare case of marriage between two men named Gary, in which case they should definitely be allowed to get ‘garried’.”
There was a clip of lovers Mark Poideven and Ben Rogers. Two gay men who don’t want to get married – even though Poideven proposed five years ago. Why? Because Rogers doesn’t believe in same sex marriage and, even if it is legalised, they won’t be walking down the aisle.
“Ben, you are cold blooded,” he said. “Mark, You can do so much better than him.”
Listen: Should you get sacked for having a no vote? (Post continues below…)
Finally, Oliver left the audience with the story about former Prime Minister Tony Abbott who was head-butted in September by a ‘no’ voter – even though the man responsible later said the violence had nothing to do with the same-sex marriage survey.
“Here’s the important thing, I am in no way condoning Tony Abbott being attacked,” Oliver prefaced. “What I will say is, thinking to yourself, ‘There’s Tony Abbott, I’m going to headbutt him’, is entirely natural. It’s an automatic human response. It’s like, ‘There’s a puppy, I’m going to pet it’. Or, ‘There’s Sean Penn, I’m not going to see that movie’.”
And just like that – in four minutes and fifty-six seconds – John Oliver summarised the ridiculousness, and hurtfulness, of the same-sex marriage survey.
Polling closes on November 7.