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Wednesday, 16 June 2004
Page: 30551


Mr PEARCE (4:27 PM) —In continuation of my remarks prior to question time today, while it may seem disconcerting to some to point out an ideal which people may choose to avoid or, indeed, fail to achieve, we cheat our children and for that matter the whole of society if we do not do everything we can to encourage and realise our ideals. And while the law needs to take account of realities, the law also has an important role in supporting the ideals and fundamental values that our society aspires to.

To be upheld as an ideal, the institution of marriage requires social as well as legal support. Marriage must share a consistent and universal meaning and not be subject to redefinition for individualistic reasons. Marriage is one of our longest standing traditions and, as part of our Judaeo-Christian heritage, has provided the social bedrock for the development of Australian society. As a Christian, my own personal values and beliefs have been, and continue to be, strongly shaped by this traditional concept of marriage. And, despite the modern trend away from religious affiliation, I believe the majority of Australians continue to share these values and beliefs.

Marriage is a union between a man and a woman, and it is the dynamics of that specific relationship which is so important for children. We need to have more children to sustain the future of our great nation and we need to do more to support the upbringing and development of our children. The time-honoured institution of marriage is the best way to achieve these goals. Marriage—the institution between a man and a woman to the exclusion of all others—is a fundamental pillar in our society. It is a pillar that has stood strong for generations and is a cornerstone of the Australian way of life. The decision by the government to introduce this bill will serve to protect, reinforce and honour marriage. In doing so, this will strengthen Australian families, which, in turn, will strengthen Australian society. This outcome—a stronger and more connected community—will be good for all. It will be good not only for those of us here today but, most importantly, for generations to come.