Senate debates

Tuesday, 28 November 2017

Bills

Marriage Amendment (Definition and Religious Freedoms) Bill 2017; In Committee

7:59 pm

Photo of Eric AbetzEric Abetz (Tasmania, Liberal Party) Share this | Hansard source

I would like to hear from those opposite an absolute confirmation that they believe that charities that continue to hold to the view that marriage should be between a man and a woman only are entitled to continue to receive government funding and support without question. We've been told that what Senator Paterson and Senator Fawcett are seeking to put into the legislation is based on a 'baseless fear'. Well, let this be the test here in the chamber. Is it a baseless fear? Will the Greens and the Australian Labor Party commit themselves in this place here and now that charities will not be impacted and they would not want to see charities impacted as they have been overseas? It's all well and good to say the law's a little bit different in the United Kingdom and elsewhere. That's fine, but where do you stand on the principle? In the contributions from both the Australian Labor Party and the Greens, they were deathly silent on the issue, which makes me think it's not a baseless fear. Indeed, it is a fear that is worth protecting the charities against.

Let's not forget two-thirds or thereabouts of the charitable endeavours in this nation are actually undertaken by faith based organisations. So why is it that you would not want to protect these charities? Senator Wong and Senator Rice in absentia—I don't blame her for that; people do need to leave the chamber from time to time, but it would have been nice to have at least one Greens senator in here—could just give a nod of the head or an indication on the principle. Is it a baseless fear or not? Once again, there is studious ignoring of the proposition. Senator Wong is so deeply absorbed by the paperwork in front of her she is unable to say, 'This is a baseless fear and I will fight for the charities to continue to get government funding if they hold to the traditional view of marriage.' And this is the hollowness—yet again, very busy in the paperwork. I'd be interested to hear from Senator Siewert if she now, on behalf of the Australian Greens—

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