House debates

Tuesday, 8 November 2016

Constituency Statements

Bass Electorate: Marriage

4:07 pm

Photo of Ross HartRoss Hart (Bass, Australian Labor Party) Share this | | Hansard source

I rise today to celebrate a fantastic event in my electorate of Bass that was held this past week and also to observe what I see as a mood for change in my electorate. The Diversity street festival's Into the Night festival was held in Civic Square last weekend hosted by TasPride celebrating the LGBTI community in Launceston. This event brought together a stunning array of local talent including kids' entertainment, street performers, interactive art, flash mobs and fantastic local bands and DJs such as Electric Boogaloo, the Dead Magpies and the Vedders. By all accounts the night was a huge success. Attendees were rugged up against the cold and warmed themselves by dancing the night away and sampling some of the delights from the city's best food vans. Rainbow Labor and members of the state parliamentary Labor Party also joined in the fun and frivolity of the night. It was clear that there is enormous support for the LGBTI community and indeed for marriage equality in Northern Tasmania.

I also recently attended the Royal Launceston Show, a local institution that brings families from around the region together for three days of food, fun rides and agricultural demonstrations. As a new federal member, it was heartening to meet so many of my constituents and speak to them directly about some of the issues that they are concerned about. Faraway more than any other matter brought to my attention, it was marriage equality that people wanted to speak to me about given that m stand at the Royal Launceston Show invited constituents to sign a petition in support of marriage equality and to share their stories of why that issue mattered so deeply to them. Literally hundreds of show goers took a few minutes out of their day to stop and sign the petition telling Prime Minister Turnbull that they support marriage equality and that an expensive, damaging and divisive plebiscite was just not necessary.

Certainly same sex marriage was on the agenda during the election campaign but not, as is often portrayed in the media, as a negative issue. This response of my Bass constituency was so evident on show day and at the diversity event is an extension of the overwhelming rejection of the extreme neoliberalism and negativity of the current government. This community understands fairness and respect for diversity. This community understands that many families with sons or daughters and brothers or sisters struggling with their sexuality and identity need to hear the positive message of support, respect and love that underpins the work of organisations like TasPride. Diversity Into the Night was the final event of the 2016 TasPride festival.