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This Politician Fears A Plebiscite On Marriage Equality Would Encourage Violence

"Words aren’t the only weapons wielded by some of those who harbour animosity towards gay and lesbian people."

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Polls show around two-thirds of Australians, with a range of political allegiances, support marriage equality, she reminded those gathered at ANU's 28th Annual Lionel Murphy Memorial Lecture on Tuesday night in Canberra.

"[Opposition leader Bill Shorten] is running a scare campaign about a plebiscite on gay marriage," Turnbull told Mix 104.9 Darwin on Tuesday morning.

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Instead a plebiscite would "license hate speech", something that was "not abstract" for LGBT Australians.

"It’s real. It’s part of our daily life."

Wong said she was "not immune" to the hate thrown her way but she was "resilient enough" to withstand it.

"Many are not," she said.

"Opponents of marriage equality already use words that hurt, and words aren’t the only weapons wielded by some of those who harbour animosity towards gay and lesbian people."

Penny Wong / Via PR Image

Sophie Allouache (left) and Penny Wong with their first child, Alexandra.

"Assaults – and worse – are not unknown in Australia, even today," Wong said.

"Many gay and lesbian people don’t hold hands on the street because they don’t know what reaction they’ll get."

Gina Rushton is a breaking news reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in Sydney.

Contact Gina Rushton at gina.rushton@buzzfeed.com.

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