Page 5241 - Week 14 - Wednesday, 29 November 2017

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If the minister is just referring members, alerting them, to the limitations of the questions and matters that can be discussed, that is not a warning. That is clarification.

Marriage equality

MR STEEL: My question is to the Chief Minister. Chief Minister, what do the recent results of the Australian marriage law postal survey mean for Canberra?

MR BARR: I thank Mr Steel for the question. They obviously have profound implications. Perhaps the best way to describe just how profound, the most eloquent I have read in recent days, has been from the federal Attorney-General, Senator Brandis, who said:

Profoundly important though the acceptance of same-sex marriage may be as a social change, its symbolic significance is even greater still. With the passage of this bill, we will demolish the last significant bastion of legal discrimination against people on the grounds of their sexuality. At last, Australia will no longer be insulting gay people by saying, “Different rules apply to you.”

The passage just a few minutes ago through the Australian Senate of Senator Dean Smith’s bill, 43 votes to 12, signals a very important further step in this long journey to equality.

The ACT has led this national campaign for over more than a decade now. We were delighted that the response to the marriage law postal survey saw the highest level of participation of any state or territory here in Canberra, with 82.4 per cent of our fellow citizens participating and the strongest level of support for marriage equality, with three in four Canberrans voting “yes” to change the law: over 175,000 eligible Canberrans, an absolutely overwhelming and, may I say, reaffirming figure for LGBTIQ Canberrans. Analysis of the results show that this is a matter strongly supported by an overwhelming number of Canberrans. (Time expired.)

MR STEEL: Chief Minister, what are the next steps the territory can take to assist in achieving marriage equality for all Canberrans?

MR BARR: This has been a long and difficult road, despite the overwhelming support we have seen in the survey results where, regardless of gender and across all demographics from people aged 18 to over 85, the yes vote was resounding here in the ACT. This government has a longstanding history over two decades of actively supporting marriage equality and legal equality for LGBTI Canberrans. We will not waiver from that stance. We will continue to show the community our very strong support for them and that they are not alone.

It was very pleasing in anticipation of the overwhelming yes vote that one of the most iconic Canberra things—a roundabout—could be coloured rainbow to complement our rainbow buses and our rainbow flags. While these may not seem like much, they mean the world to LGBTIQ Canberrans, to their families and to their friends. They demonstrate that this government supports them and that they are not alone. For those who are offended by those colours in that particular order, get a life.

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