Legislative Assembly for the ACT: Week 8 Hansard (4 August) . . Page.. 3468..
MS TUCKER (continuing):
We have to omit in the title, page 1, "and the Animal Diseases Act 1993". That is a consequential amendment necessary because of what has happened during this debate. That is my amendment.
Amendment agreed to.
Title, as amended, agreed to.
Bill, as amended, agreed to.
Motion (by Mr Wood ) proposed:
That the Assembly do now adjourn.
MRS DUNNE (5.52): At lunchtime today I attended the national marriage forum at Parliament House. It was an all-day event but because this was a sitting day I did not have the opportunity to attend other than at lunchtime. From reports given to me, I understand that the Prime Minister, the Deputy Prime Minister and various representatives of church, state, law and academia all spoke feelingly of the importance of marriage. When I talk about marriage I mean it in terms proposed by the amendments to the Marriage Act, a union of man and woman voluntarily entered into for life.
I commend the organising ability of the National Marriage Coalition, in particular Brigadier Jim Wallace from the Australian Christian Lobby, who knows a thing or two about logistics, and the Australian Family Association. It is fair to say that the organisers of this event were surprised by its success. They had hoped to get several hundred attendees. When I arrived I was told that they had 1,600-odd and they were arriving literally by the busload.
Why were they all there? In a nutshell, concern about the Senate-that is to say, specifically the ALP and the crossbench senators-referring the Marriage Act to a committee. At this stage of the electoral cycle that rang alarm bells in not a few heads, at a time when gay marriage is being touted both locally and internationally. As columnist Angela Shannahan pointed out this morning, this issue is not being driven by overwhelming pressure from the gay lobby. Many in the gay lobby are at best ambivalent about the idea of putting forward gay marriage. It is not about seeking to gain access to public benefits or being recognised as married because, as we all know, most of those are illusory. The role of government in relation to marriage is primarily about protecting children and the structures that raise and nurture them.
While we are talking about who spoke-the Prime Minister, the Deputy Prime Minister and Senator Guy Barnett, Liberal senator from Tasmania spoke-it is important to note that this was a bipartisan event and there was a degree of politicking. It is important that I claim this was overall a broad coalition supporting a traditional view of marriage and very few opposing it. We heard from the federal Labor shadow Attorney-General, who