by Jamie Seidel
FINDING the same-sex marriage debate heavy going?
Well, it may surprise you to find out New Zealand's been through all this already.
Which is why, on the eve of the November 7 postal survey vote deadline, our friends over the "ditch" have decided to give us some sage advice.
This tongue-in-cheek "Open Letter to Australia" from New Zealand's The Project presenter Jesse Mulligan pulls no punches.
"Hi Australia, this is New Zealand. It's come to our attention that you're deciding whether or not to legalise gay marriage right now. And as your friend, we'd like to take a moment not to make the same mistake we did," he says with a twinkle in his eye.
"Please, please vote 'No' to same-sex marriage."
He goes on to detail how all the "No" campaign's predictions have come to pass in the Land of the Long White Cloud. Not.
New Zealand, you see, extended the right of marriage to same-sex couples back in 2013.
"Many of us were horrified," he intoned with a straight face.
"We predicted that gay marriage would be a slippery slope - and we were right!
"It started with men marrying men and ladies marrying ladies, and before we knew it we were seeing dogs marry cats, cats marry birds, birds marry dogs and babies marry babies."
Mulligan was, of course, referring to New Zealand's typically humorous backlash to the new state of affairs (It's a country that hasn't forgotten how to laugh at itself. Or us.).
"People tell me the Christian lobby is putting up a big fight in Australia. Well, good for them.
"Here in New Zealand many predicted that marriage equality would destroy the Church. Well, once again they were right".
He then showed footage of the Christchurch cathedral before the devastating 2011 earthquake. And after. (The fact this happened in 2011, and not 2013 when the legislation was passed, is merely an inconvenient truth).
"You should have seen New Zealand before gay marriage, It was perfect." Mulligan quips.
"But now people are living in cars, our native species are facing extinction and our waterways look like toilets. Did gay marriage cause these things? Sure, why not. Lets go with that!"
The ruthless Kiwi ribbing didn't stop there.
Former Australian prime minister and outspoken same-sex marriage critic Tony Abbot was singled out.
"Vote "No" Australia. Stay strong. Look to your heterosexual heroes for inspiration ... And if we're looking for straight role models, how about the band Tony Abbott suggested to replace Macklemore at the Grand Final. Now there is nothing gay about Savage Garden!"
We share a common Commonwealth and ANZAC heritage. Including a vision of an idyllic (austerity) '50s world.
"I miss marriage the way it used to be, between a strong - handsome - man and his loving - obedient - wife. A good honest marriage, one that was built to last!" Mulligan reminisces with a smile.
Yes, his words were against an backdrop of failed stereotypical marriages - including Elton John's wedding to recording engineer Renate Blauer. (He's since married again - this time to David Furnish).
"Australia, the world is watching. It's time for you to stand up and say 'No, we don't want to be in the same club as New Zealand, Britain and the US. We see ourselves somewhere in the democratic sweet spot between Iraq and Yemen'," he drawled.
"You do you Australia. The rest of the world may be saying 'I do', but you can be the country that says 'we won't'."
Mulligan pitches his final words on a dire note:
"Look how miserable these people are, look at the hate they're spreading, look at what it's doing to their families ... Don't be like New Zealand, Australia. Last year we saw almost a thousand scenes like this, and the country is completely overrun with love. Please, don't let the same thing happen to you."
Lucky the Kiwi's are our mates.
Or else we'd take them seriously.