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Wednesday, 29 November 2017
Page: 9188


Senator PATERSON (Victoria) (13:02): Despite my own failure to achieve any amendments to Senator Smith's bill, I will be voting in favour on the final vote in a few moments' time. I will be voting yes not just because I respect the will of the Australian people, clearly expressed in the survey, but because I have long believed that gay couples deserve the freedom to be married. I will be proud to support that here in this chamber, just as I was proud to vote yes in the postal survey.

I genuinely hope that the fears and concerns I've aired in the chamber during this debate do not come to pass. I hope that those concerns are misplaced and misguided and that we don't see them in reality after this law changes. But if they do come to pass, as I fear they might, I suspect we will be back here in the chamber dealing again with the issues of religious liberty, freedom of speech and freedom of conscience, and I will be the first to say that we will need to put in place stronger protections for the individual freedoms of all Australians.

But today is a day for celebration, and my heart goes out to all the gay couples who have been waiting for too long to get married. I look forward to seeing your joy at being able to finally do so.