FOR Catholic father-of-six and marriage campaigner David Jee, the same-sex marriage survey was not, ultimately, about winning or losing, it was about the long-haul fight to protect traditional marriage.
“This is only really the start,” Mr Jee said, returning to Brisbane to thank some of the thousands of volunteers who spent weeks doorknocking and handing out leaflets in support of the “Say No” campaign.
Mr Jee, a strategic consultant who hails from Sunnybank, now lives in Sydney with wife Bernadette and children, but during the same-sex marriage survey he spent weeks in Queensland campaigning and training other doorknockers.
“We have fought a big fight. We have had this massive broad base of different people coming together and saying ‘You know what? We’re a little bit sick of the lie we’re being told … why do you need to change (the definition of marriage)?’,” he said.
“We didn’t have a big campaign budget, and because of that we didn’t get lazy, and throw money at the wrong things.
“Because we didn’t have the money we had to go out and we gave our blood, sweat and tears.”
Mr Jee has heaped special praise on volunteer Ashley Gibson, from Mt Warren Park, near Beenleigh, who doorknocked 1750 homes during the campaign.
He letterboxed entire suburbs, including delivering pamphlets to 2000 homes and businesses during the last two days of the campaign.
“I spent most of my free time on it,” 31-year-old Mr Gibson, who is unemployed, but is a mathematician and holds a masters degree in physics from Australian National University, said.
“I got involved because I thought it was important for the ‘Say No’ campaign to have a strong voice.
“I just thought it important for all the Christians and people with Christian backgrounds to stand up for their beliefs.
“My experience was that most people were kind and polite.
“There were a few people who hurled insults at me.
“I think there were just some people frustrated by the campaign – sick of hearing that it’s okay to vote no, but some people don’t think it’s okay to vote no.”
Mr Jee said he had met some “amazing people” through the “Say No” campaign.
“If I was going to give anybody an award, I would give it to him (Ashley Gibson),” he said. “We had so many people come out on the smell of an oily rag in terms of our budget, and people just putting all their effort in.
“I think we’ll be friends for life. This is a start. We’ve got our networks and friendships together.”
Mr Jee said he had made his own sacrifices to keep campaigning.
With a corporate, engineering background he passed up a lucrative consultancy so he could get involved in the marriage campaign.
“I don’t care. I’ve found something I am passionate about. I didn’t want to be like the foolish servant, burying my talent in the ground,” he said.
“We did have a few people swear at us and chase us down the street, but it’s all part of the experience, of team-building, all part of your courage.
“We’ve been witnesses.”
Mr Jee said campaigners would now turn their attention to the Queensland state election – lobbying to ensure the controversial Safe Schools training does not get a foothold in schools.
“I’m quite passionate now about building a critical mass of conservative political activity,” he said.
“Whatever happens, it’s in God’s hands.”
Doorknockers: (Above left) Campaigners Ashley Gibson and Maria Wending.