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Wednesday, 8 February 2017
Page: 287


Senator DASTYARI (New South WalesDeputy Opposition Whip in the Senate) (13:57): Last night, I saw the light—to be more specific, I saw episode 6, season 4, of Married At First Sight. It highlighted for me the glory and sanctity of marriage in Australia. I now realise why the government does not want to support gay and lesbian couples getting married. It is not, as many think, because the Prime Minister is too spineless to stand up to right-wing fringe dwellers; it is because it would be an insult to the precious, divine and blessed institution that is a civil marriage in Australia and its potential for weekend television ratings.

The year 2017 is an exciting one for the show. There is an expanded 90-minute format and major brands, including KFC, Suzuki and Lottoland, have announced that they are program partners. How can we possibly consider devaluing their investment and the marriages of people who have just met each other on reality TV by letting same-sex couples who have known and loved each other for years have these same rights to marry—same-sex couples, alas, who may have even raised children together; same sex couples who would destroy the institution of marriage now that it has finally become such a commercial success. And haven't these stars suffered enough? How can we let down last night's Lauren and Andrew? They both signed a television contract in good faith, believing gay and lesbians were not allowed to get married, so that they, after knowing each other for 15 seconds, could tie the knot in front of an altar. The institution of marriage needs to be protected so that people know that Deb and John are able to get married, despite the fact that she goes on about gluten far too much, he is not Polynesian and they have just met. We have to protect marriage from these people.

The PRESIDENT: It being 2 pm, we move to questions without notice.