Wednesday, 29 November 2017
Marriage Amendment (Definition and Religious Freedoms) Bill 2017; In Committee
Senator Hanson-Young, I will give you my handkerchief—not to cover the dress but to deal with the flood of tears that would no doubt come. Madam Chair, continuing the debate, Senator Wong talks about this being a respectful debate. Senator Wong, of course, as we all know, is the worst offender in respect and disrespect at question time. I have made very clear in this debate what my position is. I have actually achieved this in ways Senator Wong hasn't done, by voting for the removal of discriminations against gay people, and I stand proudly on that record. I have indicated my own personal view, respectfully. What I am asking is that tolerance be shown in this debate and throughout Australia, but particularly in this chamber, for those who don't have the corporate view. I know there are many members of the Labor Party with deep religious convictions who are very uncomfortable about being corralled into supporting a Labor Party majority vote. That needs to be exposed to anyone. I don't care what their view is, I don't care what their religion is and I don't care whether they have religion or not—those are matters for them. In a debate that was intended to have a conscience vote by all senators, it's clear that some senators are not able to follow their conscience. That disturbs me.
Madam Chair, on the debate before the chamber that Senator Wong was speaking to, I'm not quite sure what contribution Senator Wong made in relation to the debate, but I have made my position clear. I agree this debate has to be respectful but, regrettably, the way others in this chamber have performed today shows that respect is not universal.
The CHAIR: Thank you, Senator Macdonald. Senator Fierravanti-Wells?