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Tuesday, 28 November 2017
Page: 9093


Senator BERNARDI (South Australia) (19:32): I want to put on the record how I found Senator Rice's contribution when she was put on the spot to justify her position. She was entirely unable to. She made an argument, which I'm very familiar with, that decisions have consequences. Gee, where have I heard that before? And sometimes it's right just to say no. Gee, I've heard that before, as well. But clearly Senator Rice made those decisions and those statements because she was hoist on her own petard. Her justifications for rejecting the amendments moved by Senator Fawcett were dismantled. They were shown as absolutely unrelated. When Senator Fawcett offered to amend his amendments to accommodate any concerns that Senator Rice had, she said, 'No; you don't make legislation on the floor of the Senate.' For goodness sake: where do you make it, if you don't make it on the floor of the Senate? What a foolish statement—hoist on another one.

The problem we have here is that these are very sensible amendments identifying very real concerns. I said during the second reading debate that I have no ill will. We lost, fair and square, and the 'yes' voters can do whatever they like on this. But, please, would you consider accommodating some genuine concerns around religious protections, around familial protections and around freedom-of-speech protections? That's all we ask. And it's abundantly clear that those on the 'yes' side of the chamber are not prepared to concede anything. They are not prepared to give an inch—something for which, during the campaign, they mocked and derided those of us who spoke up about the concerns of millions of Australians.

It saddens me because I know this is meant to be a joyous time for those who want to get married to their same-sex partners, when what they've for a long time been asking for is going to come to fruition. We've asked to be given the respect of having these very reasonable protections considered. And I'm ashamed to say, Senator Rice, that you've just exposed how weak, hollow and flawed your ideological obsession with this truly is. It is an indictment on you that you don't think it's okay to make—

The TEMPORARY CHAIR ( Senator Whish-Wilson ): Senator Bernardi, please address your comments through the chair.

Senator BERNARDI: It's an indictment on senators, Chair, that they don't think the Senate chamber is the place to make legislation. If that's the case, you have to ask: what are they doing here?