Marriage Equality



About this Item
SpeakersPresident; Westwood The Hon Helen; Mason-Cox The Hon Matthew; Fazio The Hon Amanda; Voltz The Hon Lynda; Lynn The Hon Charlie; Cusack The Hon Catherine; Primrose The Hon Peter; Barham Ms Jan; Moselmane The Hon Shaoquett; Donnelly The Hon Greg; Colless The Hon Rick; Searle The Hon Adam; Kaye Dr John; Foley The Hon Luke; Buckingham The Hon Jeremy; Faehrmann The Hon Cate; Clarke The Hon David; Ficarra The Hon Marie; Roozendaal The Hon Eric; MacDonald Mr Scot; Nile Reverend The Hon Fred
BusinessBusiness of the House, Division



MARRIAGE EQUALITY
Page: 12366

Debate resumed from 24 May 2012.

The Hon. Helen Westwood: Point of order: Contrary to what is in the Notice Paper, when this matter was adjourned last week I was still speaking. I had some time remaining but the Chamber was very chaotic and confused. I was particularly disadvantaged by what went on and I seek leave to continue my contribution to this motion.

The PRESIDENT: Order! I have consulted the Clerk. I propose to regard the Hon. Helen Westwood's point of order as a request for leave to speak for a further five minutes, which is approximately the time she has remaining. It may be that in the confusion last week she had concluded her speech pursuant to the sessional orders. However, I do not think the member should be disadvantaged in this way. Is leave granted for the Hon. Helen Westwood to speak for a further five minutes?

Leave granted.

The Hon. HELEN WESTWOOD [9.47 a.m.], by leave: I thank the House for its indulgence. Last week I was a little too emotional to make the speech that I wanted to make. I did not get to some points and I probably will not get to some today. I would appreciate it if members could be quiet and listen.

The PRESIDENT: Order! While it is traditional for members to leave the Chamber at the conclusion of formal business, the level of noise is not helpful. I ask members who are proposing to leave the Chamber to do so quickly and quietly.

The Hon. HELEN WESTWOOD: The laws of our nation should reflect the values and attitudes of its people and the fact is that the majority of Australians believe our laws should not discriminate against same-sex couples. Over the past decade polls and surveys have found growing support for marriage equality amongst Australians. The latest polls found that 68 per cent of Australians supported marriage equality. The support amongst younger Australians is even higher, which no doubt is why 75 per cent of Australians believe that it is inevitable that marriage equality will become law.

I believe that the greatest argument for changing the Marriage Act is that it entrenches discrimination against gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender and intersex people—laws that legitimise discrimination in the broader community. While it is true that homophobic attitudes have diminished in much of Australia, there are many parts of our nation where homophobia is detrimentally affecting the health and wellbeing of gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender and intersex people, particularly young people and those living in regional and remote communities. From my own experiences of living in ethnically diverse communities in western Sydney, I have observed firsthand the impact of prejudice and discrimination in our newer communities based on arguments about culture and religion.

As Australian Marriage Equality argued in its submission to the Senate inquiry, an increasing body of research suggests that gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender and intersex Australians are significantly more likely to experience poorer health outcomes, including a greater incidence of psychiatric disorders, due to the negative impact of prejudice and discrimination. The statistics are particularly alarming for younger and newly identifying gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender and intersex people, who have consistently higher rates of drug and alcohol abuse, homelessness, early school leaving, conflict with peers and parents, and suicidal ideation, all directly related to the discrimination and prejudice they experience. There is also research linking these unacceptable levels of discrimination and poor health outcomes directly to the exclusion of same-sex couples from marriage.

I have a young friend to whom I spoke recently. For me, his story illustrates this point. My young friend Mo, whom I have known for many years, arrived in Australia with his family as a refugee from a war-torn country where atrocities were perpetrated upon men, women and children on the basis of their religion and ethnicity. Mo has been a great advocate of people from his community, acting as an interpreter and translator and assisting those seeking asylum prepare their applications for refugee status, usually with great success. Mo has worked with young people in south-west Sydney and has been a tireless advocate for ensuring that young people have their voice heard at all levels of government and in the media. Mo volunteered as an interpreter during the Sydney Olympics and Paralympics. Mo has given so much to the community.

Mo is gay and has been rejected by his family members because they believe his sexuality brings shame to them. In the eyes of his family and community all that is good about Mo is cancelled because of who he loves. He is so fearful of his safety that he is now moving interstate and leaving his partner behind, hopefully to follow when it is safe to do so. I want my grandchildren to grow up in an Australia where Mo's human worth is not devalued by the person that he loves. I urge members to support this motion. I understand that some members still have concerns about the issue, but I argue strongly that this is a human rights issue. I strongly believe that laws that discriminate against one group of Australians should be amended. The laws of this land should include all Australians and all citizens should be treated equal before the law. I support the motion.

The Hon. MATTHEW MASON-COX (Parliamentary Secretary) [9.52 a.m.]: The motion on its face seems entirely straightforward, speaking as it does of supporting marriage equality and for the Commonwealth Marriage Act 1961 to provide for marriage equality. However, under the Australian Constitution, marriage is a matter for the Commonwealth Parliament and its members; it is not a legislative matter for this House. Notwithstanding this, I will take this opportunity to put my view on this contentious issue. Section 5 (1) of the Commonwealth Marriage Act 1961 defines marriage in the following terms:
      "marriage means the union of a man and a woman to the exclusion of all others, voluntarily entered into for life.
That was the definition—indeed the societal norm—when I married, when my parents married and when my grandparents married. Indeed, it has been the accepted historical societal norm for many generations. Why is that so? Why has the State intervened to regulate relationships in this way? The answer is that our society, like every other society, recognises that there is an urgent need to bring men and women together to make and raise the next generation. In this way, marriage harnesses private desires for an urgent and enduring public good. Its foundation is the protection of children by uniting them with the man and woman who created them. In this way marriage is literally the fundamental building block of our society, the means by which our children have been nurtured and raised for generations.

In my view same-sex marriage strikes at the very heart of the public good that has been profoundly served by the institution of marriage. The public interest is best served by trying to ensure that children are, to the greatest extent possible, raised by the man and woman who created them. The motion cleverly clothes the issue of same-sex marriage in an appeal to the notion of equality. The corollary to equality is, of course, discrimination, which has been the touchstone of most contributions in support of this motion. Some members have even gone further and claimed that marriage as currently defined amounts to institutional homophobia. Like many others, I find this analogy both repulsive and disrespectful.

I also reject the argument that the current definition of marriage is discriminatory—a notion sadly based on a misguided adult rights based agenda that has little regard for what I believe are the paramount, yet often ignored, rights of children in this debate. It is the duty of the Federal Parliament to reconcile this competing set of rights to ensure that the public interest is best served. Indeed, if one was to take the notion of equality of marriage to its logical conclusion, there would be no reason to stand in the way of polygamous marriages or any other variant. This is the so-called slippery slope in this debate which has manifested itself overseas in some jurisdictions where same-sex marriage has been allowed.

Moreover, the argument that same-sex couples are discriminated against by our society ignores the fact that the relationships of same-sex couples are recognised and registrable in this State. In addition, our statute books have been purged of legislation that discriminates against same-sex couples. That is how it should be, and I support these reforms unconditionally. In conclusion, marriage is what it is, just as a circle is a circle or an ellipse is an ellipse. It does not, and cannot, become something else by declaration. Accordingly, I cannot support the motion.

The Hon. AMANDA FAZIO [9.57 a.m.]: I recognise that this matter is one that will ultimately be decided by the Federal Parliament. However, the motion is on the Notice Paper and we are debating it, so I feel an obligation to state my views on this matter. I am not a strong supporter of marriage as I believe that it is a patriarchal institution that implies, in many cultures and societies, some form of possession or ownership of a woman by a man. However, I am a strong supporter of equality and I oppose discrimination. As a member of the Australian Labor Party I support the party's basic principle No. 16, which calls for the:
      … elimination of discrimination and exploitation on the grounds of class, race, sex, sexuality, religion, political affiliation, national origin, citizenship, age, disability, regional location, or economic or household status.
The only reason that same-sex couples cannot legally marry in Australia is that they are being discriminated against. If same-sex couples want to enter into the institution of marriage that should be their personal choice. Therefore, I support the campaign for marriage equality. I support the motion before the House and the amendment moved by the Hon. Trevor Khan, and I will be voting in favour of both.

The Hon. LYNDA VOLTZ [10.00 a.m.]: I start with a quote from William Blake's Marriage of Heaven and Hell:
      The Devil answer'd: bray a fool in a morter with wheat, yet shall not his folly be beaten out of him; if Jesus Christ is the greatest man, you ought to love him in the greatest degree; now hear how he has given his sanction to the law of ten commandments: did he not mock at the sabbath, and so mock the sabbaths God? murder those who were murder'd because of him? turn away the law from the woman taken in adultery? steal the labor of others to support him? bear false witness when he omitted making a defense before Pilate? covet when he pray'd for his disciples, and when he bid them shake off the dust of their feet against such as refused to lodge them? I tell you, no virtue can exist without breaking these ten commandments; Jesus was all virtue, and acted from impulse, not from rules.
The reason I mention William Blake, who is probably one of the greatest religious poets of all time, and his Marriage of Heaven and Hell is that he goes precisely to the heart of the motion we are debating. Blake was rebelling against rules set down by a Manichaean order which had a particularly binary outlook, it only saw good and evil; whereas Blake perceived the world as a whole, as an integrated cosmos. Even Jesus broke the rules, the commandments that were laid down for people to follow. I urge members to read Blake's Marriage of Heaven and Hell. Previous speakers have referred to the commandments and the Bible. According to the book of Kings, one would think King Solomon was the greatest ruler who had ever walked the earth. The Bible states at 1 Kings 4:34:
      And men came from all peoples to hear the wisdom of Solomon, and from all the kings of the earth, who had heard of his wisdom.
Miller and Hayes in A History of Ancient Israel and Judah point out the obvious, that is, that the Bible would have us think the Omrides had never existed as kings. A History of Ancient Israel and Judah makes a most important point that the Omrides rulers, especially Ahab, patronised the worship of the god Baal to an unprecedented degree. The book states:
      The very idea that the Omrides might have been successful monarchs conflicted with one of the main theological principles that the compilers wished to illustrate in Genesis-2 Kings—that Yahweh granted success only to those rulers who remained faithful to him and gave exclusive support to the Yahwistic cult in Jerusalem. No achievements are recorded for the Omrides, therefore, except for the notations that Omri founded the city of Samaria … One would conclude from the summation of Jehoshaphat's reign that he too was a second rate ruler with no successors worthy of mention.
According to the Bible, Solomon was a great builder and leader but the Omrides were second-rate kings. Based on archaeological and epigraphical evidence, the Omrides were the greater rulers, the nation builders. The archaeological evidence of that fact is significant, as is the epigraphical evidence, particularly from Egypt, where there are records of trade with the Omrides. There is no evidence to support the interpretation in the Bible of Solomon. The Bible was written by people who referred to any leader who supported Yahweh as a great ruler. Therefore, only those leaders were considered successful, and the Bible was written accordingly. It was not written based on actual information at the time; it was written based on people's interpretations of events.

That is an important point to remember when members quote the Bible in debates. People in Australia have a right to believe in and follow whatever religion they wish. It is a fundamental principle in our democracy that people should be able to pursue their beliefs. In this Chamber we recite the Lord's Prayer every morning, regardless of our religious views. I consider that is reasonable if that is what people want to do. By the same token, I and everyone else in this State and country should be allowed to live our lives as we wish. There is one simple statement to make to anyone who does not like gay marriage: do not participate. But those who object to gay marriage should not force their views on me in the same way that I do not force my views on them. I conclude with a quote from Oscar Wilde, which I believe are most important words:
      Selfishness is not living as one wishes to live, it is asking others to live as one wishes to live.
The Hon. CHARLIE LYNN (Parliamentary Secretary) [10.04 a.m.]: I speak in opposition to the motion on marriage equality. For the past couple of weeks my inbox, and those of all other members, has been inundated with emails from people on both sides of this debate. Whilst I, and many other members, sympathise with the position of those in favour of gay marriage, I cannot agree with their argument of discrimination. In areas such as laws of inheritance, tax, employment, superannuation, pension, aged care, workers compensation, healthcare, veterans entitlements, spouse accompaniment on travel and many more areas of financial equality, homosexuals' rights and entitlements are equivalent to those of heterosexuals. As Reverend the Hon. Fred Nile rightly pointed out on a recent decision made by the European Court of Human Rights:
      The European Convention on Human Rights does not require member states' governments to grant same-sex couples access to marriage.

The European Court of Human Rights decided that the denial of access to same-sex marriage was not an instance of discrimination or a violation of the rights to respect one's family and private life because there is no right to gay marriage under the European Convention for Human Rights. I also believe it is important for the Parliament to uphold what has been a historic definition of "marriage" for thousands of years in all societies and in all religions. For centuries the only reason marriage has been made permanent and exclusive in the eyes of the State is the need to protect the rights of children and their future security. This includes the protection of their identity. Identity is very important to us all, but it is especially important to children, not only from a psychological point of view but also in terms of status and citizenship. My colleague the Hon. Marie Ficarra referred to an article in The Australian titled, "It's all about the children, not selfish adults", which states:
      Same-sex marriage forces us to choose between giving priority to children's rights or to homosexual adults' claims.

To apply the term "marriage" to same-sex unions diminishes the fundamental basis of marriage, that is, to procreate. The definition of "marriage", therefore, is exclusive to a union between a man and a woman. Some may say it is unfair that their sexual orientation should bar them from a level of commitment, intimacy and companionship that is permissible to heterosexuals. I say that is not the case. As the Hon. Trevor Khan mentioned in his contribution to the debate, homosexuals do so today through their commitment ceremony. New South Wales also has a Relationships Register, which makes it easier for unmarried couples, homosexual or heterosexual, to prove they are in a committed or de facto relationship and to have access to legal entitlements.

As the Hon. Walt Secord pointed out, last year in New South Wales 420 same-sex relationships were officially registered with the New South Wales Registry of Births, Deaths and Marriages. I regard it as my responsibility to protect the rights of children, whose voices and concerns are missing in this debate. With same-sex marriage, adult needs, desires, hopes and aspirations become the focus to the exclusion of the rights of children, who should be the centrepiece of our concern and nurturing. The Hon. Marie Ficarra stated:
      We are seeing situations involving assisted reproductive technologies where two men can engage a woman to carry a pregnancy for them and give up her child at birth. One of the men may be the father of that child, having provided his sperm. Part of the child's identity is with the birth mother, who is not a part of the ongoing relationship on the majority of occasions. All sorts of emotional and physical complications can arise.
The rights of children must be put first and foremost before we pass laws that do not necessarily have the interests of children at heart. I therefore oppose this motion and reaffirm my strong commitment to marriage as a union of a man and a woman to the exclusion of all others voluntarily entered into for life.

The Hon. CATHERINE CUSACK [10.09 a.m.]: I feel this debate is like a cracked record. This is an argument that we seem to have had in the Legislative Council over and over again. I am not going to repeat the issues and the principles that I believe are at stake except to say that consistent with my view on all these matters I will be supporting the motion before the House today. Marriage has been referred to by many members today as a public interest issue. We have heard yet again that it is in the public interest for children to have a mother and a father and that the public interest is not being served by same-sex marriage. I could not disagree more.

I do not consider my relationship with my husband to be any of the public's business. I do not want Legislative Council members to intrude into my bedroom at night or into the arrangements my family has in the home. I do not think it is any of their business. I do not believe this is a principled question of the public interest; to the contrary. The right we have all been able to take for granted—me, my husband and my parents—ought to be extended to all couples, not just arrangements that are accorded by us. As I have argued repeatedly, a right is not a privilege or something that is offered because it cannot by definition be a right. If two people have a right to marry that is a universal right, and telling one class of people that they do not have that right has the effect of destroying the right altogether.

I want members to understand this. This motion is about same-sex couples but it is also about all of us. It is about every type of relationship. This unfortunate belief that some people have that this Parliament should be going back to the seventeenth century and trying to dictate people's relationships is just bizarre. We have this same debate over and over again. It horrifies me that any member would think it is this Parliament's job to step into a family arrangement solely on the basis of gender and tell those people they are fraudulent and wrong and that they are in fact so bad we have to have a completely different class of laws and relationships to describe what is going on in their household. It is not difficult; it is not complex. It is certainly not a matter for the Parliament to be dictating these relationships to the public. It causes enormous harm and hurt. I have nothing further to add. I think the matter could not be more straightforward.

The Hon. PETER PRIMROSE [10.13 a.m.]: My comments too will be brief because I believe other members have been able to express their views in a more erudite fashion than I could. I want to make a couple of personal comments. Firstly, I make the observation that I am fascinated by the discussion about small government in the current political and moral debate. It seems to me that quite often those who are advocates of small government wish it to be small enough to fit inside people's bedrooms. We really do need to look at that particular paradox.

I have been with my partner for 32 years. My partner and I have stayed together for 32 years I would like to think—certainly it is the case from my perspective—because we love each other. I learnt from experience very early on a truism that I think we all need to understand, that you do not show your love for someone by going to bed with them. You show your love for someone by being prepared to get up with them in the morning and by going through all the things that a couple chooses to go through during their lives—the travails, the problems, and putting up with each other. I certainly know that my partner has had to put up with an awful lot from me. I love my partner even more as a consequence.

I had the opportunity, because of a decision by a parliament, to ask my partner to marry me. It was my great privilege, after only three weeks of our knowing each other, that my partner chose to say yes, she would marry me. As I said, 32 years later we still love each other. I do not understand how it diminishes society or anyone in it if someone is prepared to say, "I love you enough to continue to get up with you in the morning", whether they are male or female—regardless of gender—and they are prepared to say that they are showing their love for their partner by seeking the endorsement of the State. We were able to get married and chose to do so, not as a way of enhancing our love for each other but as a way of showing in a very public way that which already existed—our love for each other, which has continued.

I will certainly be supporting this motion as I have supported this issue in the past. I will not canvass the other issues such as the role of children. Frankly, as a social worker, there are many things I could say. I conclude by saying that if someone loves another enough not just to go to bed with them but to spend time with them and put up with them, as my partner has put up with me for 32 years, and they choose to get married, I do not believe anyone should say that they cannot do so.

The Hon. JAN BARHAM [10.16 a.m.]: I support the motion in support of marriage equality moved by the Hon. Cate Faehrmann, which also calls on the Commonwealth Government to amend the Marriage Act to provide for marriage equality. I do so in recognition that all Australians do not currently have the same rights to enshrine the love they experience in the institution of marriage. I acknowledge that if individuals are fortunate in life to find someone they love and wish to share their life with them they should have the right to marry and be recognised legally. They should have the security of access to marriage entitlements and the respect of the whole of society. I also would like to recognise that supporting the right to marriage will provide a significant change for the children of same-sex parents by giving them the security of having parents who are able to marry and therefore able to receive the rights and respect of society.

It is important to recognise that many people have campaigned and struggled to achieve this right, and I commend their efforts. I will feel proud today if we are able to support this motion and recognise the rights of people to choose to love whomever they wish to love and to be respected by society and entitled to the right to marriage. I believe the majority of Australians support marriage equality and would support this motion to move this country forward in terms of equality and respect and to remove discrimination against people who love each other enough to want to enter into a legally binding relationship and wish to have that love recognised and respected by society.

The Hon. SHAOQUETT MOSELMANE [10.18 a.m.]: I speak on this motion moved by the Hon. Cate Faehrmann, which calls on us to support marriage equality and also calls on the Parliament of the Commonwealth of Australia to amend the Marriage Act 1961 to provide marriage equality. I recognise that this is ultimately a Federal matter and it is up to the Commonwealth Parliament to make the decision with regard to marriage and marriage equality.

My decision to speak on this motion was a difficult one, and I had written three separate speeches. One opposed the motion because I do not support same-sex marriage. I believe marriage is between a man and a woman, that the child or children in the family structure are the key focus and all else is peripheral. I also wrote part of a speech on the basis that I would abstain as I believe that homosexuals, gays, lesbians, transgenders and others, like every other Australian citizen, have every right to be respected under the law of this land and our Constitution. The legal system should not discriminate or differentiate and favour one citizen over another simply because the lawmakers see the need to differentiate based on established ideological or religious prejudices or beliefs. I also thought that if I voted for the motion it would not present a threat to the way I live my life, the way I want my community to live their lives and the way Australian Muslim, Hindu, Christian or Jewish communities continue to conduct their religious practices and beliefs. How I vote today was not predetermined.

I accept that many people in Australia do not support gay marriage. They make their voices heard in a number of ways, but their opposition to changing the laws remains constant. They see marriage as a unique relationship between one man and one woman. They see marriage as a foundation of family which in turn is the foundation of society. To them marriage is deeply valued for cultural and religious reasons and they argue that that should be respected. They even believe that research shows that a child with a married biological mother and father do best, and that children should be given the chance to start life with both biological parents. I received one letter that referred to a recently published report of Professor Patrick Parkinson in which it was argued, "Children raised outside of a traditional marriage have alarmingly increased rates of self-harm, substance abuse, mental illness, and premature sexual activity."

I also accept that many people argue the case for same-sex marriage and want acceptance and respect for same-sex couples who contribute to society equally but are not treated equally by the law. They argue that it is time to end discrimination. One letter I received stated, "The Australian Psychological Society has found that children raised by same-sex couples are just as well adjusted, psychologically, sexually, intellectually and socially as their peers." Those in favour of same-sex marriage cite the fact that our laws already accept relationships between gays and lesbians, whether it is our immigration laws or our citizenship laws. It is also accepted under our social security, taxation, Medicare, veterans affairs, superannuation and child support laws.

I am conscious of and respect the effect of this motion on people of faith, just as I respect the views of those who are on the other side. I am confident that the amendment of the Hon. Trevor Khan to the motion of Hon. Cate Faehrmann protects the rights of all religious beliefs, faiths and religious institutions, whether they are Islam, Christianity, Judaism or Hinduism, Sikh, Buddhism, Shintoism or any other religion. The amendment of the Hon. Trevor Khan to the motion states:

      That the question be amended by inserting after paragraph (b):

      (c) notes that Article 18 of the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights provides that "everyone has the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion; this right includes freedom to change his religion or belief, and freedom, either alone or in community with others and in public or private, to manifest his religion or belief in teaching, practice, worship and observance",

      (d) calls on all participants in the debate on marriage equality to treat those with differing views with respect, dignity and tolerance, and

      (e) calls for any amendments to the Marriage Act 1961 (Cth) to ensure that religious institutions are not forced to solemnise marriages they do not wish to.
I support this amendment, as it will ensure that religious institutions are not forced to solemnise same-sex marriages, which goes against the grain of their religion. I would have no hesitation voting against this motion if it took away the right of people who observe their religions and forced on them a practice they do not believe in. I would not support a motion to make something right by imposing a wrong on others. I would not agree with forcing religious institutions to solemnise gay and lesbian marriages. Under this amendment of the Hon. Trevor Khan, imams, priests, rabbis and reverends of all faiths can refuse same-sex marriages with the protection of law. Secular laws have not intervened in the fundamental affairs of the church—I use the term "church" broadly to include all religions—and this amendment will maintain the rights of the church. My conscience is therefore clear in whatever decision I take on this matter today.

I am also conscious of the fact that we live in a secular society where our religions, religious beliefs and religious institutions are protected. I am conscious that secular laws have given significance to human rights, which I support and will always argue in favour of. I support the human rights of children, women and the elderly, just as I support the human rights of the underprivileged, the poor, and the dispossessed. I support the human rights of all people of faith to practise their faiths, their culture, their language and their beliefs without fear or discrimination. I also support the rights of minorities and condemn all forms of discrimination, racism and bigotry. I support the rights of minorities because I know what it means to be on the receiving end of racism, discrimination and bigotry.

As an Australian of Lebanese heritage and Islamic faith, I want all laws, local, State and Federal, to respect minorities, amongst them Muslims and all people of faith, and for all faiths to be protected under the law. I want the anti-discrimination laws of New South Wales to protect Muslims just as they protect Jews, Christians and people of other religions. That is why I have called for, and will continue to call for, an amendment to the New South Wales Anti-Discrimination Act 1977. I hope one day soon to introduce a private member's bill to revise our inadequate laws and amend the Act by including religion as a ground against discrimination.

I want to put on the record in no uncertain terms that I personally do not agree with marriage other than between a man and a woman but I recognise and respect the right of all Australian citizens to be treated equally under the law. Irrespective of how I vote today my conscience is clear. I am voting to protect the rights of religious institutions—Islam, Christianity, Judaism, Hindu and Buddhists—to continue to observe their beliefs according to the fundamentals of their faith. My conscience is clear that irrespective of the way I vote today I will continue to respect the right of those who support and wish to protect the institution of family and I will continue to respect the rights of all our citizens irrespective of faith, gender, colour or creed.

I have listened to and read all the views of my colleagues in this House and I have canvassed people outside this House from across the spectrum of views. I have received approximately 4,700 emails and letters from both sides of the divide. Over the years humanity has struggled to provide for those who seek to remain in their comfort zone and retain institutionalised beliefs and those who want change. Humanity over the millennia has evolved in habits, beliefs, practices and behaviour. One of the overarching drivers has been the right to equality. It has been the overarching principle in all societies to seek equality between men and women, equality in wealth and equality in all its forms.

As a pragmatist and realist, I accept the rights of all, so long as the rights of one group do not impede on the rights of another. I respect the right of those who want to hold onto the institution of the family as they see it but I do not deny the right of others to equality under the law. Our pluralist secular democratic society has succeeded because it paves the way for reform in our system and in our behaviour without having to undergo structural reform. There are many who do not believe in God. That has not changed how those who believe in God view their religion.

There are those who do not believe in Christianity or Islam, or any other religion for that matter, and that has not brought down religion. There will always be people who believe in the right of the individual and a laissez faire approach, and there are those who believe in the right of the public over the private. Our system of government and laws has not collapsed because of it; our system survives because of a plurality of views and beliefs. Some people believe that our society is based on Judeo-Christian principles, but that is not true for others. They believe it is based on Judeo-Christian-Islamic principles, and I add Hindu, Buddhist and other religious principles. I will cast my vote having listened to the contributions of other members.

The Hon. GREG DONNELLY [10.32 a.m.]: This important debate on marriage has been brought to the House by Ms Cate Faehrmann. I foreshadow that towards the end of my contribution I will move an amendment. I commence by acknowledging that, like many other members who have spoken today, I am grateful for the chance to participate in this debate. We were almost denied that opportunity last Thursday, and I make this point because it is worth considering. Notice of this motion was given on 14 February this year. A couple of Thursdays ago members were given the rounds of the kitchen by The Greens for speaking on a motion. It was argued that those individuals were being deliberately obstructionist and were wasting the time of the House. This motion was identified by Ms Cate Faehrmann as very important, urgent and requiring the full attention of the House.

I fast forward to last Thursday when the business of the House started at 9.30 a.m. After having completed the formalities, a call for papers and a motion initiated by the Opposition, and concluding some private members' matters that came up before The Greens motion, the debate on this motion got underway just after 11.00 a.m. By that time members were ready to get on with a comprehensive and engaging debate. Members had been inundated with hundreds, if not thousands, of emails people both supporting and opposing the proposal. The emails were generally respectful and sometimes very personal, and they demonstrated that strong views are held in the community on both sides of this debate. The Greens mover of the motion started the debate and other members then sought the call to speak for and against. Many members were in the House polishing up their speeches or notes while waiting to get the call. At 11.53 a.m. last Thursday I received an email from a person identifying himself as Peter on behalf of Ms Cate Faehrmann. It stated:
      Dear all

      An attempt to extend debate on the marriage equality motion has failed. Therefore debate will be interrupted prior to 1pm to allow for divisions. We understand there is an agreement that speeches can be incorporated into Hansard to allow more Members the opportunity.

I thought that was very strange. We had not completed an hour of the debate and The Greens were trying to close it down and thereby deny dozens of members the opportunity to participate. I spoke to a few of my colleagues about the circumstances, and even to senior members of the major political parties in this House. The response was blank looks and surprise. This matter has been worked up by Ms Cate Faehrmann as a most important debate and members of the major parties have been allowed a conscience vote, and I appreciate its significance to members.

As an aside, it is interesting that rule 41.2.2 of the "Charter and National Constitution of the Australian Greens" contains a specific provision giving a Greens member in public office a conscience vote on an issue where the view of the member is in conflict with The Greens policy. That is an important provision to have in a constitution. However, rule 41.5 specifically excludes the application of the conscience provision to The Greens NSW. In other words, nothing, irrespective of its a nature, can be treated as a conscience issue by The Greens NSW. This is a party provision with respect to everything—no exception. I believe that speaks volumes about the true nature The Greens NSW.

As I spoke to more and more people about this issue last week I continued to get blank looks. It crosses my mind that we have another example of The Greens pursuing what suits their agenda and hanging everyone else out to dry. With five Greens in this Chamber of 42 members, many individuals faced the prospect of not getting the opportunity to speak. A perusal of Hansard indicates that some members spoke for barely a minute and then had the rest of their speech incorporated in Hansard. The Greens did not give a damn. They simply wanted the debate done and dusted in two hours so that they could move on to the next campaign issue. How this impacted on the 37 members of the Legislative Council—

The Hon. Catherine Cusack: Point of order: I refer to relevance. The member is not addressing the substance of the motion or the amendments before the House. He is also making imputations against the mover of the motion and other members. That should be done by way of substantive motion.

The Hon. Lynda Voltz: To the point of order: Very wide debate has been allowed on this motion and most members have been given to the opportunity to express their views. I ask that this member be allowed to do likewise.

The PRESIDENT: Order! The Hon. Greg Donnelly has not made a direct imputation about another member. Therefore, I do not uphold the point of order. However, I counsel the Hon. Greg Donnelly to ensure he does not fall foul of the standing orders in this regard. In addition, he should not reflect on a vote of the House that was taken last week.

The Hon. GREG DONNELLY: As I said, the impact of The Greens' actions on the 37 other members of the Legislative Council—who had had consultations with the community, conducted research and prepared speeches—did not even cross their minds. In the end it was all about The Greens. At 12.54 p.m., just minutes before The Greens mover of the motion was due to speak in reply, the Government stepped in to confirm that the debate would be extended to give all members the opportunity to speak. I and many others are speaking on this motion today only because of the actions taken by the Government.

I have spent some time outlining the situation because I do not understand why, having worked so hard to bring on this important debate, The Greens attempted to deny democratically elected members of this place the right to speak on this important issue. It smacks of a deep-seated intolerance towards others who may hold a different point of view. It also suggests a desire on the part of The Greens, notwithstanding their claimed commitment to the principle of diversity, to impose their position on everyone else. In other words, a member's opinion is acceptable only if it conforms to theirs.

I will now address a matter that I believe is very important, and it should not be misunderstood by anyone. "Homophobic" as defined in the dictionary refers to a person who fears or hates homosexuals. To the best of my knowledge I do not know anyone in this House who fears or hates people who experience same-sex attraction. I am sure that there are some people in society at large who are homophobic, but in my experience they are the exception, not the rule. As I have observed the debate on same-sex marriage play out in Australia I have heard some people advancing the case for legislative change accuse those who do not agree with their position of being homophobic. I think that is offensive and dishonest.

The vast majority of people whom I know who do not support the proposal to change this country's marriage laws to provide for same-sex marriage are not homophobic in the true sense of the word. They harbour neither fear nor hatred towards people who are same-sex attracted. Those same people have a considered and in many cases deeply held view about marriage, its intrinsic nature, its ultimate purpose, its contribution to the common good, its importance to the welfare of children and so on. Those values may or may not be shaped by the influence of religious faith or tradition. As if it needs to be said, it is not only theists who are genuinely concerned about the impact of same-sex marriages laws on our society.

Many of the emails that members have received over the past few weeks confirm this point. I find it objectionable to brand such people as bigoted and homophobic. That is not the case and to try to smear people with such labels is an attempt to discredit their argument or to personally attack them. It is grossly unfair and objectionable. Playing the man or the woman and not the ball may have its attraction but it will not make the arguments against same-sex marriage any less valid. It will certainly not make those arguments go away.

Today I do not intend to canvass my objections to same-sex marriage. My reasons for opposing same-sex marriage are outlined in the submission I made to the Federal Senate inquiry into the Marriage (Equality) Amendment Bill 2010. I also associate myself with the submissions of Margaret Sommerville, who made a submission to the inquiry; the Ambrose Centre for Religious Liberty; the Institute for Judaism and Civilisation; Family Voice Australia; and George Cardinal Pell, AC, Archbishop of Sydney.

The state of families in Australia today is one of great difficulty and concern. I have spoken in the House previously about the excellent report produced and published last year by Professor Patrick Parkinson, AM, entitled, For Kids Sake. Repairing the Social Environment for Australian Children and Young People. The report outlines the reasons why today children and young people are struggling significantly in respect of their welfare and well-being. Essentially, they are not being provided with an opportunity to be raised by their biological mother or father. In his report Professor Parkinson does not say that he opposes same-sex marriage. He highlights the dire position of many children in Australia who are not experiencing the stability of being raised by a mother and a father.

About two years ago, as a member of the Standing Committee on Law and Justice inquiry into adoption by same-sex couples, I endeavoured to influence the committee on the importance of both a mother and a father in the rearing of children. There are arguments that we are in a post-gender world where mothers and fathers are not necessary for the rearing of children. I failed in my endeavour to influence the committee in that regard. The report of the committee recommended amendments to the Adoption Act to provide for same-sex adoption. I draw members' attention to a large reading list that forms part of that report. To my mind, it explains unequivocally that, on a range of indices, children are better off if they are raised in a marriage of a man and a woman. It is my view that arguments to the contrary fall short of the best evidence.
      The perception that same-sex marriage is heading in one direction is not correct. I draw to the attention of the House—as some other members have done—that in June 2011 a bill was introduced into the French National Assembly to legalise same-sex marriage. That bill was defeated. In the United States more than 30 States have specifically amended their constitutions to ensure that the definition of "marriage" provides only for the relationship between one man and one woman. In March this year the European Court of Human Rights repeated the European Convention in a ruling. I move the following amendment:
      That the question be amended by:

      Omitting all words after "That this House" and inserting instead:
          (a) accepts, without qualification, the fundamental human right of every person, irrespective of their sexuality, to be treated with dignity and respect by others,

          (b) acknowledges that marriage, understood across cultures and reaching back in time before antiquity, has been acknowledged as a fundamental human relationship that involves the union of one man and one woman voluntarily entering into a permanent relationship for life to the exclusion of all others,

          (c) acknowledges that marriage has traditionally been orientated toward the begetting, nurturing and education of children, and this key element of marriage has distinguished it from other types of relationships,

          (d) notes that marriage has over time served the interests of children by giving them the opportunity to be born and raised by their biological mothers and fathers, and

          (e) notes that on 16 March 2012, the European Court of Human Rights ruled that denial of same-sex marriage is not an instance of discrimination or the violation of the right to respect of one's family and private life because there is no inherent right to homosexual marriage.

[Time expired.]
    The Hon. Catherine Cusack: I seek clarification. This is a substantial amendment—in fact, it is more wide ranging than the motion. Many members have already participated in this debate. What is the situation of members being able to consider and make comments about this substantial amendment that has been moved late in the debate?

    The PRESIDENT: Order! The standing orders enable a member to only speak once. However, I quote directly from New South Wales Legislative Council Practice, Lovelock and Evans:
        … a member may speak a second time during the same debate when an amendment has been moved after the member has spoken, and the member wishes specifically to address the proposed amendment.

    The consequence of the Hon. Greg Donnelly's amendment being moved at this stage of the debate is that all members who have previously spoken will be able to speak to it. However, members who have not yet contributed to the debate will not be able to speak twice; they must address the amendment in their contributions.

    The Hon. Lynda Voltz: Point of order: I seek clarification in regard to Standing Order No. 109 (4), which states:
        (4) An amendment must be relevant to the question it is proposed to amend and must not be a direct negative of the question.

    The PRESIDENT: Order! I will give consideration to the matter raised. In fact, I am looking at the precedents as we speak. I will advise the House as soon as I have made a decision in this regard.

    The Hon. RICK COLLESS [10.49 a.m.]: I shall put my inner thoughts on the record in relation to this motion on marriage equality. It is a difficult issue for a lot of us to discuss, given that it makes up some of our most personal and inner thoughts. I support the Hon. Greg Donnelly's comments with respect to homophobia and bigotry. That is at the heart of the issue. It is not because I am homophobic that I cannot support this motion. I come from a Christian family and many members of my extended family are quite religious. Australia is a tolerant Christian country. Proudly, in this country we are tolerant of all sorts of religious and non-religious groups and beliefs. In most religious ideologies the genesis of the term "marriage" is the union between a man and a woman. I do not profess to be a student of Christianity or any other religious group, but marriage is a religious ceremony and at its very roots is a religious act to sanctify the union between a man and a woman. I doubt it is a secret that many of those who support this motion are not necessarily religious. So why are they so keen to adopt this ceremony when they do not necessarily believe in the religious genesis of it?

    As I have said, I am not homophobic and my lack of support for this motion is not about discriminating against any particular group. The union between two persons of the same sex is a matter for those individuals, and I am certainly not against that. I am against calling that union "marriage". For example, I understand and respect that same-sex couples do not like the term "civil union". Perhaps we need another descriptor for the union of two people of the same sex. Like other members, I have been contacted by a number of people from both sides of the argument. I have received some 5,000-odd emails and telephone calls from people asking me to oppose this motion on the basis I have described. I look forward to the President's ruling on the Hon. Greg Donnelly's amendment. I consider it to be a worthwhile amendment and one that I would support.

    The Hon. ADAM SEARLE (Deputy Leader of the Opposition) [10.52 a.m.]: I support this motion without any reservation. There can be no place in society for treating a person less favourably simply because of whom they love and wish to share their life. Once, people were discriminated against on the basis of their religion, their ethnicity or their gender. Once, Aboriginal Australians and white Australians could not marry. Once, women had to leave the public service when they became pregnant. Once, women were paid less than men for performing the same jobs. In fact, industrial awards explicitly provided for differential rates of pay. In a legal sense at least these forms of discrimination have rightly been consigned to the dustbin of history, and largely in reality. However, this is not universally so.

    The Hon. Lynda Voltz: Why not pay equity?

    The Hon. ADAM SEARLE: I acknowledge the interjection by the Hon. Lynda Voltz about pay equity. Work of comparable value is still a work in progress. Discrimination against people because of their sexuality in this State has been removed, to a significant degree, by law through the Anti-Discrimination Act 1977, changes to property law for those in close domestic relationship brought forward in 1999 by the former Attorney General, the Hon. Jeff Shaw, QC, and other changes including in the area of adoption. The former Commonwealth Attorney-General, the Hon. Robert McClelland, MP, acted to remove many instances of this kind of discrimination that were found in Federal law regarding superannuation and other financial and social rights. I pay tribute to his work in this area. In fact, I think history will be kind to Robert McClelland and he will be regarded as an outstanding Commonwealth Attorney-General, in the finest Labor tradition.

    The Hon. Luke Foley: He should still be in Cabinet.

    The Hon. ADAM SEARLE: I acknowledge that interjection. I believe everyone should be equal before the law. That is one reason why I became active in politics. It is why I studied law and practised as a barrister. I believe that equality before the law should include the right to marriage. I am not married, but I have a choice because of the kind of relationship I live in. All people should have this choice regarding this most personal and intimate area of life. To not permit this is to withhold from people a significant part of social, legal and cultural life of our nation simply because of their sexuality. I believe this to be cruel and inhumane. Leaving religion and culture to one side, marriage is also a civil legal concept and a civil legal institution. I do not believe there can be any rational or principled opposition to marriage equality, but this is particularly so where marriage does not involve the church or religion.

    Before the commencement of this debate I—no doubt, like other members—was the recipient of hundreds, if not thousands, of emails that urged me to take a particular view on this motion. Many of those exhorted me to support God's law or the teachings in the Bible. It is interesting to note the interest of significant interest groups said to be Christian take in matters of sexuality. It is also interesting to note that in none of the four gospels does Christ appear to express an opinion on this matter—at least on my reading. Of course, there are other references in the Bible, in the Old Testament, to which advocates against marriage equality refer in support of their view. Indeed, a member of this House did so earlier in this debate.

    Rather than view these passages as part of some timeless charter for human behaviour, it is important to see them in the particular social context in which they arose. For example, the Old Testament indicates that the death penalty was prescribed for males guilty of disobeying their parents or guilty of profligacy or drunkenness. In Deuteronomy there is an order for parents to take a stubborn and rebellious son before the town elders to be stoned. It is provided in Exodus and Numbers that those who fail to observe the Sabbath may be put to death. In some circumstances female rape victims can be put to death. In Leviticus there are passages that clearly approve of the purchase and brutalisation of slaves. In Malachi there are passages against divorce. There are also passages that accept polygamy—at least as practiced by men; not by women as far as I can tell. There are passages indicating intolerance of religious pluralism, against religious freedom, in favour of discrimination and possibly racism, in favour of the negative treatment of women, in favour of honour killings, genocide, religious war and capital punishment for certain offences such as sexual misbehaviour—including adultery.

    I make these observations not in any way to attack those books or the faith of any person. I make them simply to point out that there are many social norms and customs that may have been closely held in the past but which have now been put aside by society in our evolution towards a more free, equal and tolerant outlook for humanity. Those views occurred in a particular context and at a particular point in time. No doubt everyone in this House would rightly say that was then and this is now; there is no place for that in modern society. This issue is one of those instances. Members should consider that increasing the rights of some does not detract from the rights of others.
      Permitting marriage equality will not deprive anyone of their own rights or impinge on his or her marriage. To hold this view shows a lack of faith in us and in the institution of marriage. While at times predictions have been made about the diminishing importance of marriage as an institution, it remains an enduring one. Many people who divorce remarry. In fact, sometimes they divorce in order that they may remarry. Some of the community feedback I have received suggested that same-sex couples are seeking rights over and above other citizens. This is patently absurd and dishonest. This motion is about ensuring that all adults can be full citizens with access to the same and unrestricted legal rights in society.

      In this debate some have suggested that same-sex couples are to all intents and purposes already treated the same at law and in reality as opposite-sex couples and that this should be sufficient for them. The subtext is that they should continue to be treated differently and less favourably than other adults in our society. At its core is the notion, whether consciously or unconsciously held, that same-sex couples are simply not entitled to the respect and dignity that is the due of all adult persons in our country. Some have said that marriage is between a man and a woman. That is the current legal definition, but it is a matter of law and laws can be changed if the underlying social reality has changed. I believe that it has changed in twenty-first century Australia.

      The family is the basic building block of society. However, what we understand today as family is different and broader from what it once was. This is so even in heterosexual relationships. With relationship breakdown, remarriage or re-partnering, often with new children in the new partnering, as well as children from previous relationships, giving rise to the notion of the blended family, those who are now seen to belong to a particular family can often be much wider than the traditional nuclear family concept. This has largely been catered for in law for opposite-sex couples. I believe there should be further change to remove the current unequal treatment of same-sex couples who wish to marry.

      A further objection is said to be biology; that marriage is about the procreation and nurturing of children, the next generation of society. Many unmarried couples have children, as I do. Marriage clearly is not a prerequisite for having and raising children. Also, many married couples do not have children, either by design or by misfortune. Are those marriages less valid or less meaningful? I think not. As regards what may be termed the natural order, there are so many instances of medical or legislative intervention to change situations in our society that we have regarded collectively as not being acceptable. Do we withhold fertility treatment from women because they cannot conceive naturally? No, of course not. Do we withhold medical treatment from people who have serious afflictions that can be cured by medical treatment simply because the ailment arises naturally? Of course not.

      It is contrary to our drive to improve ourselves and our society through learning and our knowledge. But contrary to what some have said, this motion is not a move to some post-modern society without gender or parents. I believe both genders are important, as are parents. But good parenting and bad parenting exist, irrespective of gender, sexuality and whether it occurs in opposite-sex relationships or same-sex relationships. There are good parents and there are parents who are not so good. In my limited experience of same-sex couples who have children, often because of their great efforts to have children, they are the most thoughtful and attentive parents. Again in my limited experience, they do so with the involvement of both the biological parents as well as the parents with primary carriage for child rearing.

      Sometimes this is difficult but they make the effort and it is done—again in my limited experience—with a great deal of success. Certainly they are no less successful than I perceive the opposite-sex couples of my acquaintance. The key to successful child rearing seems to be raising them in a loving and secure family environment where they are cared for, educated, fed, reared and nurtured in a loving way. If those components exist, again from my limited and unscientific knowledge, they seem to be the key determinants of success. In this debate, and in the lead-up to this debate, we have heard many heartfelt stories of people crying out for recognition and equality of treatment. They do not want preferential treatment; they simply want to be treated the same as others.

      We have heard about how the unequal treatment they have experienced can eat away at their quality of life. The views expressed by those who oppose marriage equality seem to be at a level of abstraction of philosophy about a view of society and sometimes about religion or culture. That is not to say that they are not valid views but I do not think marriage equality, if it comes to pass, will have a direct impact on their quality of life. If there was any doubt in my mind about which way to go, that differential would tip the balance. On one hand lack of equal treatment impacts daily on people who want equality of treatment; on the other hand, people's idea of what is right and what society should be is being infringed on but not infringing on them in a real or personal way other than at the level of their world view.

      That is not to detract from the fact that those world views are genuinely held. However, while people are still feeling oppressed and not being treated equally—I have not yet heard a compelling, rational case for the continuation of unequal treatment—I will vote in favour of the motion. I will also vote in favour of the amendment moved by the Hon. Trevor Khan but not necessarily because I think churches should have an out clause. People can choose not to sign up to the views of a religion, and I suppose churches should not be required to solemnise marriages when it is contrary to their teachings. Again, from my limited perusal of the scripture, those teachings seem to be the teachings of man, not the teachings of God.

      I conclude with this comment. If overwhelmingly Catholic countries such as Argentina and Spain can embrace same-sex marriage, a country such as Australia, which is younger, has a fresher outlook, and does not have the same history of the Reformation, the counter-Reformation and all the trappings that come with that, should be able to embrace this innovation without fear or concern that it will fundamentally change our society. In my view it will simply recognise the current social reality of the way many hundreds of thousands, even millions, of our fellow Australians are living their daily lives. I simply ask myself: Why should the State intervene to say no? Again, we are not talking about additional rights. We are not suggesting additional rights for same-sex couples that opposite-sex couples do not have. We are simply asking for the same rights. For me, that is the beginning and the end of the debate.

      Dr JOHN KAYE [11.07 a.m.]: I enthusiastically support the motion of my colleague the Hon. Cate Faehrmann. It is an important statement of this Parliament, as proportionally elected representatives of the people of New South Wales, that we stand firmly for equality wherever it occurs. I begin my contribution by quoting a letter I received about a month ago from Peter and Evelyn Gray which is extremely moving. I will quote the letter extensively because we can create all sorts of human rights, moral and political arguments about what is happening, but the bottom line is that we are talking about people, what happens in people's lives and how those lives are transformed by their sexuality and in particular the way our society responds to sexuality. I cannot put this into good words, but at the top of the letter is a photograph of two gorgeous and beautiful young women. In the letter Peter and Evelyn said:

          We have been married for over 38 years, and have raised two daughters; one an accountant and the other a human rights lawyer. When they were children, we often talked about their futures, what careers they aspired to, and about the possibility of falling in love and getting married.

          Subsequently, both daughters did fall in love, but only one has been able to marry her partner. Our straight daughter, pictured above on her wedding day with her sister, married her husband three years ago in a non-religious, civil ceremony, presided over by a civil marriage celebrant.

          Our gay daughter dearly wishes to marry the love of her life, but cannot marry in Australia because of the inequality enshrined in the Marriage Act. We sincerely hope that marriage equality will soon become a reality so that she will be afforded the same rights as her sister; the right to celebrate their love and commitment in a civil marriage ceremony in front of family and friends.
      Evelyn and Peter are now joined by the President of the United States of America, Barack Obama, in that desire. They are joined by 57 per cent of the Australian population, who are prepared to tell the Nielsen poll that they stand firmly for equality of access to the institution of marriage. They are joined by a growing movement of public figures, elected people and even members of religions.

      The PRESIDENT: Order! I am having difficulty in hearing Dr John Kaye. I understand the need for members to have conversations in the Chamber but as far as practicable they should be inaudible.

      Dr JOHN KAYE: Peter and Evelyn are joined by a growing movement of public figures, even people who hold senior ranks within churches and by politicians who say that love is love. They say it should be honoured and respected. They say that society has no reason to discriminate on love because of the gender of the individuals involved. This is 2012. We have moved beyond fear and the irrationality of saying that what other people do is a matter for us to judge. We have moved beyond bigotry. In the past 500 years we have won great victories; we have won over slavery, we have won the emancipation of women and we have won universal acceptance and respect for people with disabilities. We have ceased to discriminate against people because they are left-handed and we have moved to a common understanding that racism is not cool. We have made great strides in understanding that people's sexuality is their business; it should be respected, regardless of the nature of that sexuality.

      We have an understanding now that comes from the age of enlightenment. That understanding has been refined and strengthened through centuries of debate about the meaning of humanity. We have an understanding that human rights are universal, absolute and exist regardless of the sexual preferences of an individual. It is essential to understand that this motion is part of a national and global movement that sexuality should be respected, understood and celebrated but it should not be discriminated against. We have moved well and truly beyond the day where we illegalised, discriminated against and ridiculed people because of the choice of gender of their sexual partner.

      The PRESIDENT: Order! The level of noise on both sides of the Chamber is again rising to a level where it is difficult to hear Dr John Kaye. I would be grateful if members could resume their seats. If members need to engage in conversations they should be inaudible.

      Dr JOHN KAYE: I will not go through the arguments against same-sex marriage put forward by the opponents largely because they are all easily dismissed but I will say this: marriage is not about procreation. If it were purely about procreation, about the production of offspring, we would not allow people to get married once they had moved beyond their reproductive years; we would not allow people to get married if they could not have children. Are the opponents of this motion seriously suggesting that we should test everyone's fertility before they were allowed to get married? Obviously that is not the case. It is nonsense to say that marriage is purely about procreation.

      Marriage is about public celebration of a love between two individuals and a commitment between those two individuals, which is welcomed and celebrated by their friends, family and society in general. There is nothing to suggest that the potential to produce children is an essential ingredient of that marriage. We know many same-sex couples. One of them has adopted a child and is raising that child extremely well. I have a large number of very young friends who are being raised in same-sex relationships and are thriving in the love of two parents—love that is indistinguishable from the love of parents in heterosexual relationships. There is no evidence to suggest that children raised in same-sex relationships are in any way disadvantaged by the gender of their parents. Whatever so-called studies support that can be traced back to an ideological or so-called moral desire to undermine the argument for same-sex marriage. The reality is that there is some damage done to children in same-sex marriage but it is done by those who seek to discriminate on the basis of the genders of their parents.

      The PRESIDENT: Order! The level of conversation is very high. I do not want to call members to order during a debate such as this. However, I will call members to order if they do not remain silent.

      Dr JOHN KAYE: Every member of this Chamber has a burning desire to protect children from damage. Those who are serious should overcome their other concerns and acknowledge that there are children of same-sex relationships. One of the key ingredients in protecting those children is helping society to be non-discriminatory. Therefore, supporting this motion acknowledging that love is equal and that partners who have equal love should be respected is an important step towards protecting children. The history of an institution should not bind its future. If it were true that because an institution had a certain characteristic throughout all history therefore we should not change it, we would still have slavery and we would still view women as inferior to men. We have moved beyond that. Institutions serve the society in which they are situated.

      The institution of marriage, like every other institution, needs to adjust and adapt to the values and practices of that society. Every day of my life I am thankful that I was born into a society where we no longer discriminate in most matters, at least officially, against people who are gay and lesbian, bisexual and intersex. The institution of marriage needs to evolve. It is not good enough to say that marriage by definition is between a man and a woman because if that were so the definition would be inadequate. The definition fails to reflect where our society has gone, what it has become and our understanding of human rights. I conclude with arguments against the motion: It has been said that recognising same-sex marriages will undermine the institution of opposite-sex marriage. That fear is completely unfounded. It is not only unfounded, it is self-defeating. The only damage being done to the institution of marriage is being done by those who seek to selfishly confine it to those of the opposite sex.

      The PRESIDENT: Order! I call the Hon. Marie Ficarra to order for the first time.

      Dr JOHN KAYE: It is those individuals, in their selfish attempt to exclude gays and lesbians, who are doing real damage to the institution of marriage by bringing it into disrepute. We saw a demonstration of this in the contribution of the Government Whip. He said that what one should probably do is privatise the whole institution and abolish the Marriage Act in order to overcome the concerns of those who are opposed to this marriage. The opposition to this debate has raised the whole question of the basis of marriage. It is a Whip thing, I think. The Opposition Whip raised her dislike of marriage as an institution.

      I advise those who are deeply committed to the institution of marriage, and I do not count myself amongst them, to drop their opposition and warmly welcome more people into that institution in order to strengthen it rather than acting in a selfish and exclusionary way by precluding people and degrading the very institution they seek to support. Overwhelmingly this motion says to people, "If you do not like same-sex marriage, for goodness sake do not involve yourself in it." There is nothing in this motion or in anything that members have said that makes same-sex marriage compulsory. I think I would probably oppose any motion that did.

      The Hon. Melinda Pavey: Are you sure?

      Dr JOHN KAYE: Yes I would, but that is another debate. Bring it on; let us have that debate, Melinda. This motion is not about changing what people do against their will. This motion is not about forcing people into same-sex marriage. It is about the generosity of spirit that makes a great society, one that extends a warm hand to everybody within it and says, "All institutions are open to you because you have human rights and you are a valued member of our society." I conclude by quoting from an article by Annabel Crabb in the Sydney Morning Herald on 13 May 2012. I tried to say this myself but in the end I thought Ms Crabb had said it more eloquently than I could possibly do. She said:
          At heart, it's a confronting but simple question: could you look at your neighbour, or your workmate, or your sister, or – in the fullness of time – at your children, and tell them that your recognition of their love and commitment will depend on the equipment of the person they've chosen?

      She concludes by saying:
          Here's a better question: are we so overburdened with happiness in this world that we can knock back a small percentage of the population who are keen to generate extra supplies of it by pledging themselves to each other? It's a simple question, really.

      It is a question to which every member of this House should say overwhelmingly, "We are not so overburdened. We welcome all people into the institution of marriage."

      The PRESIDENT: Order! Earlier in the debate the Hon. Linda Voltz took a point of order on the amendment moved by the Hon. Greg Donnelly. She questioned whether that amendment constituted a direct negative of the motion and was therefore out of order. In making the ruling I indicate the following: First, the standing orders provide no clear guidance on what constitutes a direct negative. However, the standing orders say:
          In any case not provided for in these standing orders any matter may be decided by the President as they think fit. In making any ruling the President may base their decision on the customs, usages, practices and precedents of the House and parliamentary tradition.

      The matter is canvassed in Evans and Lovelock at page 288, where it says:
          An amendment is only a direct negative if agreeing to it would have exactly the same effect as negativing the motion.

      It also draws upon the work of Erskine May, and Odgers also follows Erskine May's guidance on the issue. Effectively the Hon. Greg Donnelly's amendment is an alternative proposition. Parliamentary practice is that on an amendment such as this the vote by itself does not express a decision against the motion but only a preference for taking a decision upon an alternative proposition contained in the amendment. Parliamentary tradition and rulings made in other parliaments on this issue would indicate that it is not a direct negative. Therefore, the amendment is in order.

      The Hon. Catherine Cusack: Point of order: I was proposing to request that the motion be voted on in seriatim but I note that the first part of the motion states, "That the question be amended by omitting all words after 'this House'". Is that a matter that can be voted in seriatim?

      The PRESIDENT: I thank the Hon. Catherine Cusack for her point of order. I am currently considering that issue and consulting the Clerks.
        The Hon. LUKE FOLEY (Leader of the Opposition) [11.24 a.m.]: I speak not as a party leader but as a private member in contributing to this debate on same-sex marriage. Fundamental to my politics is a belief in the equal worth of every human being. We are all born equal. There has been too much discrimination for too long against homosexual people. I am a Catholic. I was raised in the Catholic faith and my wife and I are raising our family in the Catholic faith. As a Catholic and a legislator I am obliged here to exercise both faith and reason in fully informing my conscience. I have reflected on my church's teachings on homosexuality. The Vatican teaches that homosexual orientation is genuine while condemning homosexual activity. I cannot agree with that teaching. I do not accept that homosexual acts are inherently sinful. I cannot reconcile myself to a position that says that homosexual persons must never engage in physical acts of love and must never give expression to their sexuality.

        I am proud that the Rudd Labor Government amended close to 100 laws to remove discrimination against same-sex couples from those laws. Those amendments included the removal of discrimination in areas such as tax, superannuation, property rights and inheritance. Last year in this place I voted for the same-sex adoption bill because when I see homosexual couples in monogamous relationships giving self-sacrificing love to a child I as a legislator want to support them in that. I wanted children in those households to be afforded the rights that adoption confers. I turn now to the question before the House—that of same-sex marriage. I acknowledge that it is possible to support same-sex marriage without seeking to undermine marriage, family or religion. I acknowledge that it is also possible to oppose same-sex marriage without being homophobic.

        I do not agree with the assertion made by the mover of this motion that opposition to same-sex marriage is at its root homophobia. I do not believe that upholding marriage as being between a man and a woman is always an unjust discrimination against homosexual couples. For me, the definition of marriage involves a relationship between a man and a woman. I am for civil unions because I am for equality. I do not believe that committed homosexual relationships are second-class relationships. I do not believe they are in any way, shape or form inferior to my relationship. I support a formal legislated regime of civil partnerships between two people of the same sex, formalised when they register as civil partners of each other, which ends only on death, dissolution or annulment.

        I believe that a regime of civil unions must give same-sex couples rights and responsibilities identical to marriage. Those civil unions would be, in every respect in ethical terms, an honourable contract of a committed relationship. The retention of the current definition of marriage should not prevent gay and lesbian couples from being able to affirm and honour their relationship and have it enshrined in law. I believe if such a legislated regime of civil unions were to be introduced in this country there would be no injustice to homosexual couples. I am for equality but I recognise that there is a difference between a married heterosexual relationship and an equally committed homosexual relationship.

        Many speakers in this debate have argued that marriage should be defined as an expression of love between two people. Special as this mutual expression of love between two people may be, I do not consider that it meets the definition of marriage. Mutual loving commitment alone does not capture the meaning of the definition of marriage for me. I see marriage as the society construct that institutionalises, symbolises and protects the inherently reproductive human relationship that exists between a man and a woman. I believe that marriage is related to the transmission of human life. I have no moral objection to homosexuality. I have thought about these issues in great detail as a practising Catholic on the Left of politics. I would never devalue the worth of homosexual relationships but I believe that homosexual relationships are different to a married relationship because of the absence of a feature of their relationship which, in my view, is an essential feature of marriage: the procreative relationship which is open to the possibility of children.

        The rights of same-sex couples should be met in law. I will support a legislated regime of civil unions that gives full equality at law to genuine, committed homosexual couples. Those relationships must be treated as equal. In my view, however, they are also different from the relationship of marriage. I conform to the old-fashioned definition of "marriage" that it is a relationship between a man and a woman and, as such, I will vote against the resolution.

        The Hon. JEREMY BUCKINGHAM [11.33 a.m.]: I support the motion moved by my colleague, the Hon. Cate Faehrmann on the basis of my long-held commitment to act in my personal and professional life to eliminate prejudice and discrimination, to fight against those elements whenever I see them and to campaign for equality and fairness in all things. In relation to the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community, my most profound experience was when I was growing up in Tasmania in the 1980s and 1990s. When I was aged 16 or 17 my friends and I were becoming aware of political and social issues in our community and the profound discrimination that was directed at the gay community in Tasmania.

        In late 1990 at Salamanca Markets in Hobart I witnessed members of the Tasmanian Gay and Lesbian Rights Group, Rodney Croome in particular, being persecuted, spat at, punched and arrested, and I did not understand why. It was because they were gay. They were brave. That very small group of about a dozen people marched and chanted, "We're here, we're queer and we're not going to the mainland". As I say, they were beaten and spat at, but they ultimately won their cause and homosexuality in Tasmania is no longer an illegal act for which homosexuals can be jailed. I realised then that our laws were so draconian and that discrimination was so entrenched. For me this is a non-issue; we should apply our laws equally regardless of sexuality.

        The PRESIDENT: Order! Is the Hon. Catherine Cusack speaking to the amendment?

        The Hon. CATHERINE CUSACK [11.37 a.m.]: Yes, I wish to exercise my right to speak in opposition to the amendment moved by the Hon. Greg Donnelly. For the benefit of the House, I want to clarify that there are three amendments to the motion, two of which were put on the Notice Paper by Reverend the Hon. Fred Nile and the Hon. Trevor Khan. The amendment that I speak against now has been presented very late in this debate by the Hon. Greg Donnelly. I do not wish to reflect on the Hon. Greg Donnelly, whom I believe is genuine in his opposition to this motion. Members have had months to consider the motion. As I said, I believe the Hon. Greg Donnelly is sincere in his views in opposing this motion, and the proper course for members who oppose the motion is to vote against it. The amendment of the Hon. Greg Donnelly puts an entirely different proposition that would cause the House to, if you like, abandon the motion that has been before it for months. The amendment moved by the Hon. Greg Donnelly begins:
            That the question be amended by:
                Omitting all words after "That this House" …
        The first aspect of this amendment is to delete the entire motion which members have been considering for months. Members opposed to the motion can vote against it. It is not fair that the Hon. Greg Donnelly seeks to defeat the motion in this way. Although his amendment is procedurally acceptable, I do not think it is useful to the House. The amendment states further:
            (a) accepts without qualification, the fundamental human right of every person, irrespective of their sexuality, to be treated with dignity and respect by others—
        nobody has a problem with those words—
            (b) acknowledges that marriage, understood across cultures and reaching back in time before antiquity, has been acknowledged as a fundamental human relationship that involves the union of one man and one woman voluntarily entering into a permanent relationship for life to the exclusion of all others.
        I am not convinced that marriage existed in antiquity. Some cultures have harems and polygamous marriage. It is incorrect to say that all cultures accept that marriage is a union of one man and one woman. The amendment also refers to a permanent relationship for life to the exclusion of all others. We all aspire to that when we get married, but the reality is that not all marriages are monogamous or last forever. That is the way the institution of marriage works in our modern society. No matter our aspirations, we must face the fact that the minority of couples living together are heterosexual and married. Paragraph (c) of the amendment states:
            (c) acknowledges that marriage has traditionally been orientated toward the begetting, nurturing and education of children...

        As a woman I find that part of the amendment offensive. The suggestion is that the sole purpose of marriage is so that women can make babies. I abhor that because it is not the purpose—

        The PRESIDENT: Order! While we are debating this matter it is sometimes necessary for members to have conversations in the Chamber. However, such conversations must be inaudible. While we do not remove people from the public gallery for applauding, it is not the done thing; it is not allowed.

        The Hon. CATHERINE CUSACK: That is a very narrow definition of "marriage" that does not apply to all cultures and it has no basis in historical fact. It certainly does not reflect our modern understanding of women as equal partners in those relationships and who might wish to marry for other purposes. It also does not take into account women who cannot have children but who still want to get married. Paragraph (d) of the amendment states:
            (d) notes that marriage has over time served the interests of children by giving them the opportunity to be born and raised by their biological mothers and fathers

        That is an extraordinary statement to make, given the number of blended families in our community and that many biological mothers and fathers are raising their children but are not married. It is nothing like what occurs in our community; it is simply incorrect. It would be a huge step for this House to adopt such an assertion. I once again point out that this amendment has been moved very late in the debate and not many members have had an opportunity to consider it. It having been moved at this point could cause the debate to be derailed.

        The Hon. Greg Donnelly has accused The Greens of all sorts of dastardly tactics. He has suggested that they attempted to curtail the debate to stop members having an opportunity to present their extensively researched speeches. I draw the attention of the House to the time limits applied to debates. I understand that the time limit for such a debate is 1½ hours. I also understand that the Hon. Cate Faehrmann discussed with the Hon. Greg Donnelly extending the debate so that as many members as possible could speak. There was a concern that time for the debate would expire and that members would not have the opportunity to make a contribution. To assist members to put their views on the record it was proposed that members have their speeches incorporated in Hansard. That was interpreted by some as a conspiracy. The Hon. Cate Faehrmann, in an attempt to accommodate members, has now enabled the debate to be extended and many members have made contributions. I do not believe that anything sinister has occurred. In fact, to the contrary, I thank the Hon. Cate Faehrmann for the way in which she has handled this situation.

        If the Hon. Greg Donnelly wishes the statements in his amendment to be supported by the House, I urge him to consider moving it as a separate motion. The amendment contains a very different proposition to that in the motion before the House, which members have been carefully considering for months. I urge all members to vote against the amendment because there are better courses of action. One of the schools of thought is that marriage is a public institution that should be defined by the public and only certain classes of people should be able to access it. I understand the arguments in support of that proposition. The other school of thought is that marriage is all about private, consensual relationships between adults. That is an important proposition and an important debate that we should have. However, this amendment completely derails the debate before the House and takes it into areas that members have not had an opportunity to consider. Irrespective of their views on the motion, I urge members to vote against the amendment.

        The Hon. Cate Faehrmann: Mr President, I wish to speak to the Hon. Greg Donnelly's amendment.

        The Hon. Amanda Fazio: Point of order: It is my understanding that members in their right of reply should address amendments that have been placed before the House rather than have a second opportunity to speak. That would in effect give a member at least three opportunities to speak in a debate.

        The PRESIDENT: Order! The difficulty is that the standing orders do not contemplate this exact situation. The mover of the motion will have only five minutes in which to reply, whereas all other members have 15 minutes in which to speak to the amendment. With the leave of the House, it might be appropriate that the Hon. Cate Faehrmann be allowed to speak to the amendment. If that is not the will of the House, so be it. Is leave granted to allow the Hon. Cate Faehrmann to speak on the amendment? There being no objection, the member may speak.

        Leave granted.

        The Hon. CATE FAEHRMANN [11.48 a.m.], by leave: I thank honourable members for granting me leave to speak on the amendment.

        The PRESIDENT: I suggest that the honourable member exercise some restraint in terms of the time she takes, given that she will have another right to speak.

        The Hon. CATE FAEHRMANN: You took the words out of my mouth, Mr President. I will not use the 15 minutes available to me. I want to address the way in which this amendment has arisen. I will refer in particular to paragraph (e), which mentions the European Court of Human Rights. Reverend the Hon. Fred Nile's suggested amendment also makes reference to the court. The Hon. Greg Donnelly suggested that I was trying to stifle the debate. I appreciate the Hon. Catherine Cusack's explanation of the time limit. We did everything we could to ensure that members were heard, including providing for the incorporation of speeches in Hansard. I acknowledge that that distressed some members, including the Hon. Michael Gallacher.
          As most members know, when we came into the House this morning 2½ hours had been set aside for this debate. That occurred after consultation with other members. I thought that that would be ample time for the members who had not spoken to make a 15-minute contribution to the debate. That was always my intention. When I walked into the Chamber this morning the Hon. Greg Donnelly was frantic in his desire to talk to me. He asked me to agree to an extension of time for debate so that every member would be able to speak on the motion. In other words, he did not want a time limit put on it.

          The reason I amended the time for debate from 2½ hours to what it has now become was so that every member would have an opportunity to speak. I thought that was fair and I wanted every member who wished to speak in this debate to be able to do so. I am not interested in shutting anybody down and this is a substantial issue that members are keen to speak to. I agreed to the Hon. Greg Donnelly's request because he assured me that members wanted to be heard on the subject. For the member then to move an amendment during his contribution without telling me beforehand is less than genuine.

          The Hon. Greg Donnelly: Point of order: I do not wish to interrupt, but that is an aspersion directly cast against me and it should be withdrawn.

          The PRESIDENT: Order! While it is not necessarily offensive, it is a reflection on the member. I ask the member to withdraw it. I remind the member that she is speaking by leave.

          The Hon. CATE FAEHRMANN: I withdraw the statement. I am disappointed that the Hon. Greg Donnelly has moved this amendment now given his statements imputing that I had tried to curtail the debate. I am sure he knows that is not the case. I agree with a lot of the comments of the Hon. Catherine Cusack about the amendment of the Hon. Greg Donnelly. I will be voting against it. The ruling by the European Court of Human Rights has been used out of context. It states:
              On 16 March 2012 the European Court of Human Rights ruled that denial of same-sex marriage is not an instance of discrimination or the violation of the right to respect of one's family and private life because there is no inherent right to homosexual marriage.

          That case was not about same-sex marriage; it was about adoption by civil partners. The European Court of Human Rights cited an Austrian case that did address same-sex marriage and found that it should be up to each member State to decide for itself if same-sex marriage is a human rights issue. This doctrine—the margin of appreciation doctrine—is often applied by the European Court of Human Rights to accommodate diversity within Europe. This statement was specifically about sovereignty of nations. We should remember that within Europe Catholic Spain, Portugal and France—now under the new President—all support same-sex marriage, marriage equality. New South Wales is also out of step with decisions by courts in Canada, the United States and South Africa, where the right of same-sex couples to marry has been repeatedly and emphatically confirmed. Let us remember that the European Court of Human Rights decisions do not apply in Australia. Given that the Parliament granted me leave to address this amendment, I will leave my comments there.

          The Hon. DAVID CLARKE (Parliamentary Secretary) [11.53 a.m.]: I support the amendment moved by the Hon. Greg Donnelly. Previously I spoke for only about three minutes on the motion because there were time limits applying and I wanted to give every member a chance to speak. I am content with the comments I made then. I do not intend to use my time now as a way to speak further to the substance of the motion. What I said previously is on the record and summarises my position. I cannot speak again on the motion but I can speak to the Hon. Greg Donnelly's amendment. I want to refer in particular to paragraph (e) of the amendment, which talks about the European Court of Human Rights and raises the issue of rights and discrimination. I refer to paragraph (e) in conjunction with the amendment moved by the Hon. Trevor Khan, who supports the motion before the House.

          The Hon. Trevor Khan has moved an amendment that, among other things, calls for an amendment to the Marriage Act of 1961 to ensure that religious institutions are not forced to solemnise marriages they do not wish to. I want to say something about the matter of human rights. The amendment of the Hon. Trevor Khan is in defence of human rights. Who could object to that? Who could object to ministers, priests, imams and rabbis not being forced to perform a marriage ceremony that strikes at the very heart of their beliefs? In good conscience, we cannot object to it. That is why I found the response of the Hon. Cate Faehrmann very revealing and disturbing. The Hon. Cate Faehrmann said she would support the amendment moved by the Hon. Trevor Khan but "only reluctantly"—only to help her motion pass through the House. She would do it "only reluctantly". The Hon. Trevor Khan moved an amendment in defence of human rights and the Hon. Cate Faehrmann "only reluctantly" supports it as a device to get through her motion. That is very revealing.

          There is a section of The Greens who, if they had their way, would do away with all exemptions under the Anti-Discrimination Act 1977, including religious exemptions. They would take delight in doing away with them; they would relish being able to do so. They would get rid of every exemption faster than a Tokyo bullet train. And if this motion is passed and the marriage laws are changed, The Greens will be back here and in the Commonwealth Parliament trying to rip away every single exemption. That is how a certain section of The Greens works. If they had their way, they would stop funding of all faith-based schools. If they had their way they would close down all faith-based schools. If they had their way they would remove reference to God in our Constitution. If they had their way they would stop prayer in this Chamber, if they could get away with it, because for a section of The Greens—

          The PRESIDENT: Order! There is too much audible conversation. I remind members that they must not speak to amendments that were moved before their contribution on the substantive motion. The Hon. Trevor Khan moved his amendment before the member spoke previously in the debate.

          The Hon. DAVID CLARKE: Is some latitude given when I am referring, in general terms, to paragraph (e) of the amendment moved by the Hon. Greg Donnelly?

          The PRESIDENT: Order! The member would be in order if he were referring to paragraph (e) of the Hon. Greg Donnelly's amendment.

          The Hon. DAVID CLARKE: I am referring to paragraph (e) in a general sense. The fact is that at the heart of a certain section of The Greens—a section only—there is a dark heart, a black heart. This section of The Greens believes it is their way or the highway. Increasingly, other parties are waking up to The Greens. I noted the whingeing and whining of some of The Greens because they could not get their motion on at the exact time they wanted. So what if it was delayed for a week or two weeks, or three or four? That is what happens in this place; that is life. They whinged because a motion about Mothers Day received urgency as Mothers Day was to be held three days later. The Greens saw it as a conspiracy. But it was a very different matter when it came to a motion of the Hon. Natasha Maclaren-Jones—an important motion on women's rights. Her motion had priority over the motion of the Hon. Cate Faehrmann.

          The Hon. Cate Faehrmann: Point of order: This is the second contribution of the Hon. David Clarke. The member should be addressing the amendment moved by the Hon. Greg Donnelly. I fail to see how this has anything to do with any motion the Hon. Natasha Maclaren-Jones had in the Order of Precedence on the Notice Paper.

          The PRESIDENT: Order! The Hon. David Clarke is straying from the amendment moved by the Hon. Greg Donnelly.

          The Hon. DAVID CLARKE: I will seek to make my comments relevant. My comments will certainly be more relevant than some of those made by the Hon. Cate Faehrmann when she spoke against this amendment. The Hon. Natasha Maclaren-Jones had precedence for her motion but it was shoved aside for the Hon. Cate Faehrmann's motion. The Hon. Cate Faehrmann did not object to that. There was no conspiracy then. Daily The Greens come into this Chamber with urgent matters and suck up the oxygen in this place. Dr John Kaye referred to "selfishness", but the selfishness in this place is by The Greens seeking to suck up the oxygen of both the Government and Opposition members.
            The Hon. Cate Faehrmann: Point of order: The Hon. David Clarke is once again straying from the amendment. This has nothing to do with how The Greens debate issues in this Chamber. The member has not spoken to the amendment since my last point of order.

            The PRESIDENT: Order! During the contribution of the Hon. Greg Donnelly I advised members that it was important that they not reflect on votes of the House. That ruling equally applied to the contribution of the Hon. Cate Faehrmann. It applies equally to the contribution of the Hon. David Clarke. I uphold the point of order.

            The Hon. DAVID CLARKE: I appreciate the President's ruling. In conclusion, I repeat that I support the amendment moved by the Hon. Greg Donnelly. I particularly support paragraph (e). But I am greatly disturbed that The Greens are so selective in what human rights they support. The Greens are prepared to take away from people the human rights referred to in paragraph (e). For instance, The Greens are prepared to force a rabbi, a priest or a minister to officiate at a marriage ceremony even though it might be against his or her religious convictions.

            The Hon. MARIE FICARRA (Parliamentary Secretary) [12.02 p.m.]: It is with great honour that I stand in support of the amendment moved by the Hon. Greg Donnelly, as I am supportive of the amendments moved by Reverend the Hon. Fred Nile and the Hon. Trevor Khan. Paragraph (e) of the amendment moved by Hon. Greg Donnelly states:

                (e) notes that on 16 March 2012, the European Court of Human Rights ruled that denial of same-sex marriage is not an instance of discrimination …
            As members of the New South Wales Parliament we should take particular note of the ruling of the European Court of Human Rights—a very important institution—when talking about marriage equality. I congratulate all members on the respect they have shown for one another in allowing the maximum time to speak under our standing orders. I was concerned that there may have been some gagging of members on a conscience vote. I acknowledge that Dr John Kaye does not like the word "gagging". That would have been a sad thing, and it is certainly not something I saw in my time in the lower House—

            Dr John Kaye: Marie, you voted to have the motion put on the industrial relations bill.

            The Hon. MARIE FICARRA: I am talking about limiting the debate to two and a half hours.

            The PRESIDENT: Order! The debate on the amendment is degenerating into a debate on the procedures of the House and votes that have taken place. Debate should be strictly confined—as I have said during the contributions of three members—to the substance of the amendment. If my ruling is not adhered to I will sit members down.

            The Hon. MARIE FICARRA: All of the issues referred to in the amendment moved by the Hon. Greg Donnelly are important. Paragraph (a) reads:
                (a) accepts, without qualification, the fundamental human right of every person, irrespective of their sexuality, to be treated with dignity and respect by others,
            The Hon. Trevor Khan: We are going to vote on this, Marie. You do not need to be so long.

            The Hon. MARIE FICARRA: Regardless of the frivolous interjections of others, many of us want to place on the record that we do not discriminate. In my family—as indeed in many other families—we have gay members. In fact, last year around my Christmas lunch table there were almost an equal number of homosexual and heterosexual people. Members have given many examples to justify their support of same-sex marriage. Paragraph (a) goes to the core of respect for one another. The majority of mainstream Australians have the utmost respect for choice of sexuality. We do not want to intrude into people's bedrooms and carry on in an undignified and unchristian manner. It is important that paragraph (a) should be voted on and recorded in Hansard as reflecting the views of the majority of members in this place.

            Paragraph (b) of the amendment is reflective of our normal traditions, our history of marriage, our various cultures and the views of the majority of mainstream, multicultural Australians. It includes our Anglo-Saxon background and traditions regarding marriage as an important fundamental relationship between a man and a woman to the exclusion of all others. In practice this does not always occur, but it would be lovely if it did. Those of us who took our vows hoped at that time that it would be to the exclusion of all others until the day we died. For those who can achieve that, it is wonderful. It is also important that paragraph (b) be voted on and recorded in Hansard as reflecting the views of the majority of members in this place.

            Paragraphs (c) and (d) of the amendment go to the fundamental core of this issue—namely, the welfare and nurturing of children. That is not to say that gay men and women cannot bring up children in a respectful, proper and loving sense. Many have been doing it for years as foster parents. But what is best for a child? We are all entitled to our views. Thankfully the Federal Parliament is the domain of the Marriage Act, not the New South Wales Parliament. I have no doubt that if this issue were to be the subject of a referendum—and I have great faith that it will go to the Federal Parliament—we would know the view of the majority of Australians. I repeat: Our primary concern is the nurturing and rearing of our children, and many of us believe that is best done by a biological mother and father. I congratulate the Hon. Greg Donnelly on moving his amendment. Every one of these issues is important. It is valuable for us to vote on this as an upper House and it is valuable to have it reflected in Hansard. I support the amendment.

            The Hon. ERIC ROOZENDAAL [12.09 p.m.]: I have been listening carefully to this debate. I congratulate members on the way they have conducted themselves.
              [Interruption]

              Except for the Government Whip; he is on his own. I will deal with a couple of issues that I think are important. I understand that marriage raises issues of faith for those with religious beliefs that incorporate the sanctity of marriage. It also raises human rights issues for individuals. As someone who is married, I can appreciate the benefits of marriage, and I do so every day. However, I do not accept the argument that marriage is the be-all and end-all and that a person must be married in order to raise children. I know many same-sex families who raise their children in a loving way. I know many heterosexual families who do not raise their children in a very good way. So I do not think the ability to rear children is based on one's sexual preference in any way or form.

              My wife works in the child protection industry and has done so for almost all her working life. Every day she can recount stories of children who have been neglected and abused by all sorts of parents for all sorts of reasons. When we look to the future it is appropriate that we look to change the view of marriage in this country to allow any two people of the same sex who love each other to sanctify that love in a marriage. That is appropriate; I am comfortable with supporting that. If it is good enough for Barack Obama to raise the issue in the United States of America—a much more conservative place than Australia—and to nail his support to marriage equality in public debate, it should be good enough for this House to do the same.

              I realise that we will not be changing the law in New South Wales. That is something that needs to be dealt with by the Federal Parliament. Indeed, whatever the outcome of today's debate, I hope it causes our Federal colleagues to reflect on this, perhaps move a similar motion and move towards marriage equality. If two gays, lesbians or transgender people want to get married they should have the right to do so. If they want to raise a family they should have the right to do so. If they do that in a loving way that is warm and helps their children, so be it. I do not believe they should be denied that. Frankly, I have many gay friends who would make terrible parents, and I have many straight friends who are terrible parents.

              The Hon. Charlie Lynn: Name them.

              The Hon. ERIC ROOZENDAAL: No, I will not name them. Be that as it may, if people of the same sex who love each other want to get married and sanctify their love in that way, let it be so. I will be supporting the Hon. Trevor Khan's amendment because I understand that many people with religious beliefs—it is an issue of faith rather than perhaps anything else—would be uncomfortable with marrying a same-sex couple. I do not believe we should force the views of the State on any religion. I have never thought that way. Individual religions have their own rules which need to be accommodated, and I think the Hon. Trevor Khan's amendment encompasses that.

              I will not support the amendment moved by the Hon. Greg Donnelly, not because I have any great disagreement with his views. He has conducted himself in an honourable and honest way in this debate. I respect the views of all members in this Chamber. I respect that the marriage issue touches deeply some people's religious faith. However, I believe that in 2012 it is appropriate to allow two people of the same sex who love each other to be married. It will not change anything except give them satisfaction and acknowledgement of their relationship and their love.

              The Hon. SCOT MacDONALD [12.13 p.m.]: I want to address the standing orders in relation to the amendment. Standing Order 109 (4) states:
                  An amendment must be relevant to the question it is proposed to amend—
              Dr John Kaye: Point of order: The Hon. Scot MacDonald is clearly canvassing your earlier ruling and trying to traverse that ruling by calling into question the validity of the amendment under the standing orders.

              The PRESIDENT: Order! I apologise to the House, but I was consulting the Clerk about some procedural matters. I do not know what the Hon. Scot MacDonald said.

              The Hon. SCOT MacDONALD: Have you ruled on this issue, Mr President?

              The PRESIDENT: Yes.
                The Hon. HELEN WESTWOOD [12.14 p.m.]: I will speak against the amendment moved by the Hon. Greg Donnelly, particularly paragraphs (d) and (e). I reject the claim that marriage is by definition between a man and a woman and is thus for the purposes of procreation and child rearing. Under Australia's Marriage Act there is no obligation for couples to have children.

                The Hon. Catherine Cusack: Thank goodness.

                The Hon. HELEN WESTWOOD: Yes. The Act does not exclude couples who are infertile, as is evidenced even amongst members of this House. It is a reality that with the advent of assisted reproductive technology many same-sex couples are raising children in a loving and nurturing family unit. Although some members have claimed that heterosexual relationships are the natural and best family unit in which to raise children, there is absolutely no evidence to support that claim. Indeed, I would argue that the evidence is to the contrary.

                According to Professor Jenni Millbank, who has carried out extensive research in the area of family and relationship law and has done a lot of work on same-sex recognition, comprehensive studies in the United Kingdom and the United States of America over 20 years have found that children of same-sex couples showed no differences in terms of gender role or gender identity; in the more than 300 children studied there was absolutely no evidence of gender identity disorder; and there were no differences in psychiatric state, levels of self-esteem, quality of friendships, popularity, sociability or social acceptance.

                Other studies that looked at adult children of lesbians and gays found there was no difference in the proportion of children who identified as lesbian or gay themselves when compared with children of similarly situated heterosexual parents. Overseas studies have made similar findings. In America, drawing on extensive research on gay parenting, evidence has been presented specifically to the United States Senate showing that:
                    … the research on children raised by lesbian and gay parents demonstrates that these children do as well if not better than children raised by heterosexual parents. Specifically, the research demonstrates that children of same-sex couples are as emotionally healthy and socially adjusted and at least as educationally and socially successful as children raised by heterosexual parents.
                This aligns with my own experience of raising my two daughters in a same-sex relationship. They have grown into happy, healthy adults who are now raising their own children in loving, nurturing relationships that happen to be heterosexual relationships. Between them, they have given me the gift of eight grandchildren. My grandchildren find as much joy and happiness in their relationship with me and my partner as they do with their heterosexual grandparents. There is no evidence that my children or my grandchildren have been disadvantaged by being raised in a same-sex relationship. To illustrate the point, on Mother's Day earlier this month my 10-year-old grandson presented Lauretta and me with a gift he had purchased for us from the Mother's Day stall at his local Catholic school in Penrith. It was a cup with the inscription "Grandmothers are love". He proudly told us, "See, it says grandmothers with an "s". That is why I got this one for you."

                I turn now to the issue of human rights, which several members have talked about in this debate, in relation to paragraph (d) of the Hon. Greg Donnelly's amendment. In its current form the Australian Marriage Act legalises and entrenches discrimination against gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender and intersex people. The fact is that the Howard Government passed the Marriage Legislation Amendment Bill specifically to exclude same-sex couples. That has been pointed out in a number of submissions to the Senate inquiry that is currently underway. No doubt members have referred to those submissions to that inquiry.

                It is an important point that until the passage of that legislation Australia had always recognised marriage as legal and the nature of the relationship between the adults did not matter, particularly those who had been married overseas. I will go back and make that point because I think it is important. It was done for the purpose of excluding same-sex couples from marriage. The passing of the bill ensured that same-sex couples could not legally marry in Australia and same-sex marriages legally performed in accordance with the laws of another country are not recognised in Australia as valid marriages. That was the point that had changed. In the past if couples had married in other places they were recognised in Australia.

                On becoming part of Australian law the Chief Justice of the Family Court, Alastair Nicholson, described it as one of the most unfortunate pieces of legislation ever passed by an Australian Parliament. I agree. It was a retrograde step. Many argue it represented a retreat from human rights. It is my argument that the Australian Marriage Act discriminates, despite the argument proposed in the amendment moved by the Hon. Greg Donnelly. The amendment should be opposed because the current Act breaches our human rights. Senator John Faulkner argued during debate on marriage equality at the Australian Labor Party National Conference in December last year:

                    Human rights can never be at the mercy of individual opinions or individual prejudices.

                    They are not privileges to be extended to one person and denied to another according to the winds of popular opinion or the whims of the government of the day.

                    They are inherent in each and every one of us, quite simply because we are human.

                    It is not that governments to grant human rights, but to recognise and protect them.

                    And it is not for any of us to approve of human rights—only to choose whether to respect or to ignore them.
                For those reasons I will not support the amendment moved by the Hon. Greg Donnelly and I urge other members to do likewise. It flies in the face of the intention of the original motion. Given the amount of time that this House has been willing to spend debating this important issue, I accept the arguments that for some members it is about their faith and their traditions, but for many of us it is about our belief in fundamental human rights and we want to see them upheld for all Australians. I urge all members to oppose the amendment moved by the Hon. Greg Donnelly.

                The Hon. LYNDA VOLTZ [12.23 p.m.]: I speak against the amendment moved by the Hon. Greg Donnelly and the idea that marriage was understood across cultures, reaching back in time; that it was extended to the opportunity to be born and raised by their biological mothers and fathers. My grandfather was taken away from his mother when his father died after fighting in the First World War. The only reason my grandfather was taken away from his mother and raised by a Church of England priest was the fact that he was Aboriginal. Judgements were made at that time, not based on who the biological parents were but based on people's cultural perception of what they thought they should impose on other cultures, particularly the Aboriginal culture. Then it was a mistake, and it is a mistake for which Kevin Rudd as Prime Minister apologised on behalf of the Australian people. It is a mistake now to tell parents how they should raise their children.

                My daughter goes to St George Girls High School. Her best friend at school is Brenna Harding. They are with each other week in, week out. I am perfectly happy for her to be with Brenna's parents, who I think are possibly the best parents out of all the parents I know—they are a lot better than I am. This motion denigrates that family, Brenna and what we all know about them. I find that offensive in this modern day and age, just as I found the taking away of my grandfather offensive.

                Reverend the Hon. FRED NILE [12.25 p.m.]: I had considered withdrawing my amendment, which I moved last week, because it has been included in the amendment of the Hon. Greg Donnelly. However, I will continue with my amendment so that it can be dealt with as a separate issue when we come to vote on the amendments. I have deliberately left in the words "supports marriage equality" because the Christian Democratic Party has its own definition, which is equality between a husband and wife; they treat each other as equals. There is no reference in the terminology to heterosexual or homosexual; there is no definition of those words. That is how we interpret them.

                We support the amendment of the Hon. Trevor Khan. Paragraph (c) quotes the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Again that paragraph makes no reference to marriage. Paragraph (d) calls on all participants in the debate on marriage equality to treat those with differing views with respect, with dignity and tolerance. We fully support that paragraph. We believe that has occurred in debate in this House over the past few days. Paragraph (e) states:
                    (e) calls for any amendment to the Marriage Act 1961 to ensure that religious institutions are not forced to solemnise marriages that do not wish to.
                This is very important because one of the few areas where the State is involved with a clergyman is where he or she is licensed to conduct a marriage; in other words, if a Catholic priest conducted a marriage and was not licensed, the marriage would not be legally recognised in Australia; it may be recognised by the Catholic Church but not by the State. It is one of the few places where the minister has to have the approval of not only his church but also the State. One is given a licence and a number—I have those—to then perform a legal marriage in the eyes of the Commonwealth of Australia. It is important to have that licence. Without that understanding it could easily be stated in the licence that one is required to marry anyone of the same-sex or the opposite sex and one would have no choice. It is a very important matter.
                    The Hon. David Clarke has said that The Greens are on record as being totally opposed to any exemptions in the Anti-Discrimination Act. Even though they may reluctantly accept paragraph (e) today, they would seek to remove that exemption for religious institutions, which I think is very important. We support the amendment moved by the Hon. Trevor Khan. Obviously we support the amendment moved by the Hon. Greg Donnelly. I acknowledge that we have only just received this amendment, but it does incorporate some very positive features. I would prefer that we voted on it en bloc because paragraphs (a) to (e) are all linked together. However, the House will determine that. The Hon. Greg Donnelly has included very positive aspects in his amendment. I believe those who are promoting same-sex marriage could not disagree with what he has proposed. Paragraph (a) states:

                    (a) accepts, without qualification, the fundamental human right of every person, irrespective of their sexuality, to be treated with dignity and respect by others,

                I have always endeavoured to do that, as does our Christian Democratic Party. We may disagree on the issues but we treat each person with dignity and respect whether they are heterosexual or homosexual. The amendment further states:
                    (b) acknowledges that marriage, understood across cultures and reaching back in time before antiquity, has been acknowledged as a fundamental human relationship that involves the union of one man and one woman voluntarily entering into a permanent relationship for life to the exclusion of all others,
                    That has been the traditional definition. Antiquity could be related to the references in the Book of Genesis, which is one of the oldest written records, following of course the Egyptian hieroglyphics and so on. Paragraph (c) says:

                    (c) acknowledges that marriage has traditionally been orientated toward the begetting, nurturing and education of children, and this key element of marriage has distinguished it from other types of relationships,

                It does not say it can only be for begetting children, but traditionally that has been the emphasis and I am sure all members would agree that that is historically true. It goes on:
                    (d) notes that marriage has over time served the interests of children by giving them the opportunity to be born and raised by their biological mothers and fathers...

                We have had information from Professor Parkinson and quite a lot of other information confirming that children's growth and development is better if they are raised by their biological mother and father. Paragraph (e) simply restates what was in my amendment relating to the decision of the European Court of Human Rights even though the Hon. Cate Faehrmann tried to redefine what it said.

                The Hon. Cate Faehrmann: Clarify.

                Reverend the Hon. FRED NILE: I would say redefine because the wording is black and white. It says, "There is no inherent right to homosexual marriage." That is not qualified in any way at all. It is black and white. It is a simple statement in English about what the European Court of Human Rights believed. That was its recent decision, in March. We fully support the amendment proposed by the Hon. Greg Donnelly.

                The Hon. CATE FAEHRMANN [12.33 p.m.], in reply: I thank all members who have contributed to this debate. They have represented both sides of the argument. Most of the time we have been able to have a very respectful debate. I acknowledge the incredible amount of thought that went into everybody's contributions. I have read the Hon. Peter Phelps's speech and I thank him for incorporating it last week when both he and Mr David Shoebridge did that. Today is very significant for the marriage equality debate. One of the reasons it is so significant is the conscience vote that has been granted to all parties. Given that people have indicated throughout the debate which way they will vote, I believe members from the Coalition, Labor and The Greens will be voting for marriage equality today, which is significant in itself regardless of whether or not the motion wins support.
                  I will address a few of the challenges and arguments that people put forward against marriage and marriage equality. A number of members suggested that the institution of marriage, being between a man and a woman, was not institutional homophobia. I challenge that and say that it is. It is exactly what was happening in the 1950s when marriage between an Aboriginal woman and a white man, for example, was banned. That was institutional racism and that is exactly the same as what is happening now between two men or two women who want to marry. It is about us as members of this place providing leadership and looking at the laws that institutionalise discrimination. This is one of them. We know that this is one of the final barriers to full equality. That is why it is so symbolic that this Parliament should send a message to the Federal Parliament to amend the Marriage Act.

                  The issue of children has been raised and the Hon. Helen Westwood addressed the arguments very well in her response to the Hon. Greg Donnelly's amendment. She refuted some of the claims about a man and a woman being in some ways more grounded as parents and providing a more solid foundation in raising children than those from more diverse families. She quoted many surveys and much research, which I know has been quoted in this place before in the debate on same-sex adoption. We have been receiving a lot of emails from people who are against same-sex marriage. We know that many of those emails mention people's faith. The tone of some of those emails has been quite alarming as well as disappointing. I will conclude by quoting some religious figures in support of marriage equality. Father Dave Smith, an Anglican parish priest in Sydney, said:
                      From a Christian point of view, marriage is an institution designed to serve two social needs:
                      1. Contribute broadly to social stability.

                      2. Provide a stable environment for the nurturing of children.

                      If this is the case then the only questions Christians need to concern themselves with when it comes to the issue of gay marriage are these two:
                      1. Would gay marriage lead to greater social stability?

                      2. Would a married gay partnership be likely to provide a more secure environment for the nurturing of the children of a gay couple than an unmarried one?

                      I think the answer to both of these questions has to be 'yes'.

                  There are many religious figures in Australia who support religious equality. The sky has not fallen in. In the remaining 10 seconds available to me I thank members of this place who have been very supportive in getting this motion before the House: The Hon. Trevor Khan, the Hon. Penny Sharpe and the Hon. Helen Westwood. I thank all members for their contributions.

                  The Hon. Trevor Khan: Point of order: In light of what Reverend the Hon. Fred Nile has said about his intention to move his amendment it would seem to me to be appropriate, consistent with the approach adopted by the Hon. Catherine Cusack in her point of order with regard to the Hon. Greg Donnelly's amendment, that the Hon. Fred Nile's amendment be put in seriatim. That is, the first part of his amendment relating to deletion should be put before the question of insertion, which should be dealt with as a separate matter.

                  The PRESIDENT: Order! I will now deal with two points that were taken by the Hon. Catherine Cusack and the Hon. Trevor Khan. Standing Order 111 provides:
                      1. The Chair will put the question on every amendment "That the amendment be agreed to".

                  Standing Order 102 (4) states:
                      When a motion consists of more than one question, the questions should be put sequentially if any member so requests.

                  That is the position we are now in as the Hon. Catherine Cusack and the Hon. Trevor Khan have requested that the amendments of the Hon. Greg Donnelly and Reverend the Hon. Fred Nile be put sequentially. In terms of putting them sequentially, when the Hon. Catherine Cusack took her point of order she asked, "What happens with the words in what one might call the first paragraph (a)?" There is a clear procedure as to how that is dealt with. It is effectively the same procedure that is adopted when the House is in Committee. It is what is referred to on page 289 of Lovelock and Evans as a complicated amendment, which the Chair is required to put in the older form, not in the form referred to in Standing Order 111. It is similar to the procedure in Committee, where the question is put to omit and insert words.

                  The Hon. Greg Donnelly has moved that the question be amended by omitting all words after "That this House" and inserting new words. The form of the question will be, That the words proposed to be omitted stand part of the motion. That will be the question on the first part of the amendment. If it is resolved in the affirmative, the remainder of the amendment will lapse. If it is resolved in the negative, the result is that the omission of words has been agreed to and the following paragraphs (a) to (e) will be put in seriatim.

                  The Hon. Catherine Cusack: Yes.

                  The PRESIDENT: The first question that will be put is in relation to the amendment of the Hon. Greg Donnelly, That the words to be omitted stand part of the motion. Therefore, members who are against that part of the amendment of the Hon. Greg Donnelly will need to vote "aye". The Hon. Greg Donnelly, as the mover, and those who support the view of the Hon. Greg Donnelly will vote "no". If the ayes have it, as a result of either the voices or a division, whatever is required, the rest of the amendment of the Hon. Greg Donnelly will lapse. If, however, the noes have it, I will then sequentially put each of the paragraphs after that. The same will happen with the amendment of Reverend the Hon. Fred Nile, which is now also the subject of a request under Standing Order 102 (4).

                  The Hon. Greg Donnelly: Point of clarification: As I understand it, in vernacular terms, the words "That the question be amended by omitting all words after 'That this House' and inserting instead …" in effect become a question for the House to determine.

                  The PRESIDENT: Order! That is correct and the way it will be put to the House is in the form of the words, That the words proposed to be omitted stand part of the motion. That is how we will vote on that part of the amendment.

                  The Hon. Greg Donnelly: If that is successful nothing else will follow.

                  The PRESIDENT: If it is successful, the remainder of the amendment will lapse. If it is not successful, I will put paragraphs (a) to (e) in the normal way. I will adopt that same procedure with the amendment of Reverend the Hon. Fred Nile. The House will then vote on the amendment of the Hon. Trevor Khan, which does not have any deletions, therefore, the issue does not arise.

                  Reverend the Hon. Fred Nile: Point of order: Mr President, you appear to have reversed the votes for and against the motion. You said that the intention of the amendment of the Hon. Greg Donnelly was to omit all words after "That this House" and to insert other words. His intention is that that should be carried so it should be a vote in favour, or an affirmation.

                  The PRESIDENT: Order! I understand the point Reverend the Hon. Fred Nile has made. My advice is, in these circumstances, it is appropriate for the House to follow the old way that the question was put; it the appropriate way to put the question if we follow Evans and Lovelock and the precedents of the House. It is a little complicated, which is why I have tried to explain it as clearly as possible. That is the way I will be proceeding because that is the advice I have accepted.

                  Reverend the Hon. Fred Nile: It is certainly confusing.

                  The PRESIDENT: I do not disagree with the member. Nevertheless, that is the way the House has voted on such amendments in the past. The question before the House is, That Private Members' Business item No. 6 in the Order of Precedence be agreed to, to which the Hon. Greg Donnelly has moved the following amendment, "That the question be amended by omitting all words after 'That this House' and inserting" new words.

                  Question—That the words proposed to be omitted [Amendment of the Hon. Greg Donnelly] stand part of the motion—put.

                  The House divided.
                    Ayes, 26
                    Mr Ajaka
                    Ms Barham
                    Mr Blair
                    Mr Buckingham
                    Ms Cotsis
                    Ms Cusack
                    Ms Faehrmann
                    Ms Fazio
                    Miss Gardiner
                    Dr Kaye
                    Mr MacDonald
                    Mrs Mitchell
                    Mr Moselmane
                    Mrs Pavey
                    Mr Pearce
                    Dr Phelps
                    Mr Primrose
                    Mr Roozendaal
                    Mr Searle
                    Mr Secord
                    Mr Shoebridge
                    Mr Veitch
                    Ms Voltz
                    Ms Westwood
                    Tellers,
                    Mr Khan
                    Ms Sharpe

                    Noes, 13
                    Mr Borsak
                    Mr Brown
                    Mr Clarke
                    Mr Colless
                    Mr Foley
                    Mr Gallacher
                    Mr Green
                    Mr Lynn
                    Mrs Maclaren-Jones
                    Mr Mason-Cox
                    Reverend Nile

                    Tellers,
                    Mr Donnelly
                    Ms Ficarra
                    Question resolved in the affirmative.

                    Amendment of the Hon. Greg Donnelly negatived.

                    Question—That the words proposed to be omitted [Amendment of Reverend the Hon. Fred Nile] stand part of the motion—put.

                    Division called for and Standing Order 114 (4) applied.

                    The House divided.
                    Ayes, 24
                    Mr Ajaka
                    Ms Barham
                    Mr Buckingham
                    Ms Cotsis
                    Ms Cusack
                    Ms Faehrmann
                    Ms Fazio
                    Miss Gardiner
                    Dr Kaye
                    Mr Khan
                    Mr MacDonald
                    Mrs Mitchell
                    Mr Moselmane
                    Mr Pearce
                    Mr Primrose
                    Mr Roozendaal
                    Mr Searle
                    Mr Secord
                    Ms Sharpe
                    Mr Shoebridge
                    Ms Voltz
                    Ms Westwood


                    Tellers,
                    Mr Blair
                    Mr Veitch

                    Noes, 14
                    Mr Borsak
                    Mr Brown
                    Mr Clarke
                    Mr Colless
                    Mr Gallacher
                    Mr Green
                    Mr Lynn
                    Mrs Maclaren-Jones
                    Mr Mason-Cox
                    Reverend Nile
                    Mrs Pavey
                    Dr Phelps
                    Tellers,
                    Mr Donnelly
                    Ms Ficarra
                    Question resolved in the affirmative.

                    Amendment of Reverend the Hon. Fred Nile negatived.

                    Question—That the amendment of the Hon. Trevor Khan be agreed to—put and resolved in the affirmative.

                    Amendment of the Hon. Trevor Khan agreed to.

                    Question—That the motion as amended be agreed to—put.
                      The House divided.
                      Ayes, 22
                      Mr Ajaka
                      Ms Barham
                      Mr Buckingham
                      Ms Cotsis
                      Ms Cusack
                      Ms Faehrmann
                      Ms Fazio
                      Dr Kaye
                      Mr Khan
                      Mr MacDonald
                      Mrs Mitchell
                      Mr Pearce
                      Mr Primrose
                      Mr Roozendaal
                      Mr Searle
                      Mr Secord
                      Ms Sharpe
                      Mr Shoebridge
                      Ms Voltz
                      Ms Westwood

                      Tellers,
                      Mr Blair
                      Mr Veitch

                      Noes, 16
                      Mr Borsak
                      Mr Brown
                      Mr Clarke
                      Mr Colless
                      Mr Foley
                      Mr Gallacher
                      Miss Gardiner
                      Mr Green
                      Mr Lynn
                      Mrs Maclaren-Jones
                      Mr Mason-Cox
                      Reverend Nile
                      Mrs Pavey
                      Dr Phelps

                      Tellers,
                      Mr Donnelly
                      Ms Ficarra
                      Question resolved in the affirmative.

                      Motion as amended agreed to.