Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2017 Week 08 Hansard (Thursday, 17 August 2017) . . Page.. 2933 ..
Marriage equality is not the final step, but we must take that step to ensure full equality for all of our citizens. It is not just the first step we should take, but it is an important step and we need to keep that work going. I therefore commend this motion and encourage all in this place to support it. I encourage all Canberrans to vote yes.
MR HANSON (Murrumbidgee) (3.40): I rise to support Mr Coe’s amendment but also, importantly, to correct some facts that have been presented in the debate. I think is important to make a number of observations about the debate as it has played out so far in the Assembly. I start by referring to Mr Ramsay’s comments. I think he made some pretty good comments, actually. I acknowledge the points that he made and I acknowledge his position on this issue. Certainly, wherever you go there are mixed views within various churches in the community. I think that is a point that needs to be reinforced. There is a range of views on this across our diverse community.
But Mr Ramsay also made the point, which I agree with, that the debate has to be nonpartisan and has to be respectful. I fear that some of the comments that have been made in the debate so far are both partisan and are not respectful. I turn firstly to the comments that Mr Parton picked up on that Mr Barr made that people on his side will be voting yes because they are good people. We have to be very careful with the language that we use that there is no inference here that to vote yes is good, to vote no is bad.
Certainly, that was a clear inference from those comments. If Mr Barr would like to correct that when he closes the debate, I think that would be a good thing. We need to be careful with language. I hope that is what people on both sides of this chamber are saying. Let us make sure that we are careful with that language as we use it.
I also refer to Mr Steel’s comments where he called the Prime Minister weak and gutless. If we are trying to have a respectful debate, a nonpartisan debate as Mr Ramsay, the Attorney-General, has called for, to call the only prime minister in the history of Australia who has actually moved anything on same-sex marriage in the parliament weak and gutless I think is not respectful and is partisan.
What we see is that there has been a move by the Prime Minister for a plebiscite. We now have a postal vote but the Prime Minister has moved twice for a plebiscite to get this issue done. I do not think there can be any question that the Prime Minister personally is committed to the issue of same sex-marriage. He has acted twice in the parliament to move this issue forward. He is now acting with a postal vote. So to suggest that he is—
Mr Barr: So committed he will not even campaign.
MR HANSON: I notice Mr Barr is interjecting in this respectful debate that we should be having. The Prime Minister should not be called weak and gutless on this. You can disagree with him. That is great. You can disagree with his decision to have a postal vote, to have a plebiscite or, indeed, his position on same-sex marriage. But I do not think that, in the context of this debate when we are hearing both sides say, “Let’s be nonpartisan and let’s be respectful,” to call the Prime Minister of Australia weak and gutless reflects that sentiment.