Thursday, 26 November 2009
National Year of Action on Marriage Equality
The Rudd government’s position on marriage and civil partnerships is clear. The Rudd government supports the development of a nationally consistent framework that provides the opportunity for all couples who have a mutual commitment to a shared life to have their relationship officially recognised. These schemes are to be implemented consistent with maintaining the definition of ‘marriage’ in the Marriage Act.
That was doublespeak and the government is in the business of discriminating against same-sex couples in the area of marriage, and members on the government benches might sigh or sob about that but the fact is it is discriminatory. The Rudd government is moving now to override provisions by the Australian Capital Territory legislature to provide some degree of equality. That is discrimination, it is bigotry and it is against what the majority of people not only in the ACT but in Australia want. It is a manifest extension of the Howard years by this Labor government—and you should hang your heads in shame at your bigotry and discrimination in that area. I will continue with my colleagues, including Senator Hanson-Young, to argue this with this Labor government while ever it continues to purvey the Howard government discriminatory philosophy in this place.
A bloke cannot marry his brother; it is not right. A woman cannot marry their sister; it is not right. A bloke cannot marry a bloke because it is not right and a female cannot marry a female because it is not right.
Honourable senators interjecting—
Mr President, I rise on a point of order. As leave has not been granted to Senator Hanson-Young, we will make sure that is a consistent follow-through in the next three days. If that is what the opposition wants we will follow in the same vein.
Mr President, on the point of order: we have a longstanding practice in this chamber that notices of motion are not to be debated. We allow a very brief debate because people want to make a statement but we have restricted it to one per party. That is only fair. That is the way it has always been. To have two speakers from the one party on the same motion is not fair.
Mr President, on the point of order: the reason that I stood—and I believe that I should have been given the ability to make a short statement—is that the motion was misrepresented by the statements made by Senator Fielding. Unless we are going to enter into a debate around the issue of same-sex marriage and debate my bill which is currently before the parliament, then we should not be having this debate. We should be debating the substance of the motion.