Wednesday, 29 November 2017
Marriage Amendment (Definition and Religious Freedoms) Bill 2017; In Committee
In this debate, I'm exercising my conscience, as our party decided long ago. I speak for myself. Nobody else speaks for me on these issues, and I've made my position very clear on this all the way along. I support Senator Hanson's amendment. I think it's probably not as good as some of the others that have been proffered and voted against, but it does provide certain protections. It makes sense, and it is one that I support. That's my position as an individual senator exercising a conscience vote.
I'm very, very disappointed that the Labor Party, for all of their rhetoric about a conscience vote, have come to this debate locked in as a political party. The Greens, of course, are the same. As I said yesterday, I don't, fortunately, know the Greens very well. I don't know of any of their religious or other beliefs—I suspect they have few beliefs apart from themselves—but I do know that there are a number of members of the Labor Party who have deeply held religious beliefs. I do know that many of the members of the Labor Party do not say the Lord's Prayer in the morning, and I say that as a matter of fact. That is something that I don't have to tell the Senate. Most of the Labor Party people who don't say the Lord's Prayer would tell the Senate themselves. Australia used to be a place where you could have these sorts of conversations. Within this chamber, we are even more encouraged to speak openly about factual matters, as long as we're not personally attacking or impugning motives of other senators. So I repeat Senator Hanson's statement that many in the Labor Party are not Christians and do not say the Lord's prayer.