Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2017 Week 08 Hansard (Thursday, 17 August 2017) . . Page.. 2937 ..
remarked, “The arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends towards justice.” It does not happen by chance. You have to fight for progress each and every day.
ACT Labor has had a very clear position on this matter for some time. Back in 2013, the ACT Labor government presented the Marriage Equality Bill, which was then passed by the Assembly. The federal Liberal government challenged our right to legislate these laws and it was overturned by the High Court. But you cannot stop progress—not forever. You can try, as conservatives often do, but there is a momentum to these campaigns that is almost self-sustaining.
I am incredibly proud to be part of a Labor team that will not just be voting yes but will be campaigning and encouraging our communities to vote yes. I am incredibly proud to be part of a government that will also be actively campaigning for a yes vote. I am proud to support this motion put forward by the Chief Minister. I encourage every Canberran to support this campaign.
MS CODY (Murrumbidgee) (3.56): I too will be supporting Mr Barr’s motion, but not Mr Coe’s amendments. I heard Mr Coe call for a respectful debate on this particular subject. I think that has already gone. Respectful debate requires equality before it gets to the starting line. We are opposed to this postal survey precisely because it is not respectful. But to demand respect when it is not shown to others, well, there is no parliamentary language that adequately describes that.
I do not respect many people. I do not respect sexists. I do not respect homophobes. I do not respect racists. I do not respect people who do not respect others. As a party, as an Assembly and as a territory, we have always stood for equality. It is frustrating that this debate has gone on and on all because a spiteful minority do not want to share. Equal marriage is not going to hurt anyone. It is just going to make people equal. If you think having someone else being treated equal to you takes something away from you, you are already not equal. You are not equal to them at all.
But we cannot be silent, not while equality is denied. The Labor Party is proud of our leadership record when it comes to inclusion and equality. We have been consistent advocates for marriage equality, just as we have always been advocates for stamping out discrimination and exclusion. Whether it is in writing legislation, arguing for fairer workplaces or in advocating for safe schools, Labor has always used its time in government to lead, not to pass the buck on issues as significant as equality on to the community.
I have spoken in this place on previous occasions about how the principles of solidarity inform the union movement’s commitment to a fairer workplace but also a fairer society. This commitment to a fairer society also plays out in the marriage equality debate. Just as workplaces cannot be fair so long as structural inequalities, sexism and discrimination continue to exist, we cannot be a fair society while our LGBTIQ brothers and sisters are denied a basic everyday right that many of us here take for granted.
Finally, I will touch on an expression that is common in the union movement: touch one, touch all. This expression conveys the sense of solidarity that union members