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Wednesday, 24 August 2011
Page: 9305

Mr CHRISTENSEN (Dawson) (10:48): For most of us a marriage proposal might be a momentous, exciting event, but you will have to forgive me for not getting too excited about the proposal that I and 148 others received in this place last year. My lack of excitement perhaps stems from the fact that it was an indecent proposal, or at least a pointless proposal. A motion directing members of the House of Representatives to represent the views of their electorate suggests we have been told how to do our job. Did we really need to be asked to canvass our constituents' views on the issue of same-sex marriage? Let us not mistake what is going on here. This is a motion that is one gutless step towards trying to change the law on marriage. It is a motion that says, 'I have not got the guts to put up the same-sex marriage bill because I know it will be defeated right now, so I will just throw the concept out there so you will get used to it.'

When I am talking to people in my electorate of Dawson they have more important concerns than this—concerns about the carbon tax, concerns about the poor state of local roads and the state of the Bruce Highway—and they think the government should have those concerns too. However, I did throw it out there through the media that I was happy to get people's views. We have had GetUp pushing this cause—the Labor-Greens' front GetUp attempting to skew public opinion. Emails generated by GetUp remain few and I was able to personally respond to those emails as they came in. I responded because I wanted to determine if they were actual constituents, because there were no names or addresses to verify if they were. In many cases they admitted they were not from my electorate and in one particularly worrying case the owner of the email address knew nothing about it at all. So, GetUp—this paragon of grassroots social democracy—has been out there trying to subvert the democratic process with fake emails coming in from people who know nothing about what they are supposed to be signing up to. What a disgrace!

With all the verified constituents who commented to me on this issue, tallied up as of 10.20 this morning, 78 were for same-sex marriage in my electorate; 456 were against. That signifies two things to me: one, there is a lack of interest in my electorate on this issue and particularly that people see it as a side issue; and two, from those who do take an interest in this issue, there is strong opposition from the electorate of Dawson. While I have my own view on this matter, the view that I hold here today is shaped by those genuine concerns from people in my electorate. The only time same-sex marriage garners anything in terms of support is when it is dressed up as something that it is not.

When opponents are called homophobic, when they are attacked for discrimination or being a religious nut or a dinosaur, to me it just shows how weak the arguments in favour of same-sex marriage actually are. The issue has been dressed up as discrimination but that is not what it is. It is not about religion, either. It is actually about marriage, and to talk about same-sex marriage—I am sorry, but that is just not what marriage is. Marriage is a legal, exclusive and permanent union of a man and a woman, and that is by its definition. That is what marriage is. That is what marriage is in just about every country in the world and has been before Christianity. That is right: the religious nuts did not invent marriage. They simply recognised, revered, encouraged and supported what has always been the foundation of society.

Marriage is the very foundation of humanity. It is the bond from which families are born, the basic building block of society. To water down the definition of marriage is to weaken the foundation of our society, and that is what the Greens would have us do. Marriage is between a man and a woman, not between a woman and a woman or a man and a man, or a man and three women for that matter, or a man and a woman and another man. The definition of marriage is the only argument we have against polygamy. If we would open the door to same-sex marriage, no valid argument remains against polygamy or the multiple other type of unions that could be out there because the term 'marriage' becomes meaningless. So, although a majority of members accepted this marriage proposal, I am afraid this is one issue that my electorate of Dawson is very happy to leave at the altar.