Wednesday, 25 October 2017
We never should have had a postal vote on marriage equality, but over the past two months people in Melbourne have come together to stand up for equality. I'm proud to represent a community where we care for one another and where all love is equal. So I rise today to thank some of the people and organisations in Melbourne who've been taking action. Hundreds of volunteers have knocked on thousands of doors. Greens offices have been full of volunteers and supporters making phone calls for a yes vote. To everyone who volunteered and had those important conversations: thank you. Thousands of people have attended massive rallies. I would like to acknowledge the years of advocacy from rally organisers Equal Love, who have been tireless in Melbourne and throughout Victoria in their pursuit of equality.
A division having been called in the House of Representatives—
Sitting suspended from 10 : 13 to 10 : 31
Thank you to the Equality Campaign Victorian team based at Trades Hall in Carlton, who, with the broader union movement, contributed so much to the 'yes' campaign. So much support has come from the grassroots. Community members organised postering and stickering, and a mass rainbow chalking is set to happen this weekend.
In Kensington, residents formed a 'Kensington votes yes' group. Residents from the group got together to organise stalls, badges, bunting and hundreds of signs that can be seen at homes around Kensington. You only have to walk down a Melbourne shopping strip to see the community support for equality. Racecourse Road, Bridge Road, Swan Street, Gertrude Street, Smith Street and Brunswick Street are all a sea of rainbow. Many shops are pushing to match the window display of Rose Chong, though her display for equality is, of course, unbeatable.
Bar SK hosted 'Vote Yesk'—an art exhibition in support of equality. Hares & Hyenas has been a community institution for many years and a valued hub for the 'yes' campaign. Loop Bar created a safe space for LGBTIQ people during the campaign, hosting 'queer' events, exhibitions, panel discussions and 'yes calling' parties, and so too has Joy FM been a source of strength and community. I would like to deeply and sincerely thank them for the contribution that they have made to the Melbourne community during this time.
Religious organisations have stood up for 'yes'. St Michael's Uniting Church wants to be the first church to marry an Australian LBGTIQ couple. Many other churches of many denominations displayed their support for equality, and the Richmond Uniting Church responded to vandalism of their rainbow banner with love and a new sign. The Yes Alliance—Multicultural Australians for Marriage Equality brought together community groups from many faith and cultural backgrounds, including many with a home in my electorate.
The cities of Melbourne, Yarra and Moonee Valley have displayed a strong message of equality and so have many businesses, major organisations and big footy clubs like North Melbourne, Collingwood and Richmond. Many people looked out for those who were doing it tough during the campaign, including Melbourne Affordable Psychology in Ascot Vale in north Melbourne and North Richmond Community Health, who offered free counselling sessions to anyone impacted by the postal vote. I am so proud to represent a community that cares so much.