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Wednesday, 12 November 2008
Page: 6764


Senator JOYCE (Leader of the Nationals in the Senate) (4:55 PM) —I just want to note that it is quite obvious that this bill, the Same-Sex Relationships (Equal Treatment in Commonwealth Laws—General Law Reform) Bill 2008, remains very close to a conscience vote. My concern is that the outcome that could be represented in a conscience vote by those who have a more conservative view on this issue might be worse than where we could end up here.

I also want to note for the record that there is still a strong issue of concern held by people who may not be drawn, for reasons, to vote against this legislation but who are certainly not in support of it. I think that has to be brought out. The issue remains one about the institution of marriage. If, as I said, you pull down everything else but the word ‘marriage’ then you have obviously affected what a marriage is and you have obviously affected the principal part of a marriage, and that is how children are brought up. This is another move towards a diminution of the rights of the child. I know that other people see it differently, but that is something that, as a senator, I have a right to say, not only on my own behalf but also on behalf of so many of my colleagues who hold very strong views on this issue as it is at this point.