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(generated from captions) That's the end of today's special, on our website at - but there's loads more I'll see you next time. Closed Captions by CSI This Program is Captioned Live. # Theme music I'm Waleed Aly. Hi and welcome to Big Ideas, of it. Barack Obama has come out in support In New Zealand it's legal. The British Prime Minister political parties there support it. and the leaders of the major Prime Minister Julia Gillard, But in Australia, Tony Abbott, both oppose it. and the leader of the Opposition, The issue is same-sex marriage. passionate debate And it's an issue that arouses on both sides of the argument. In this IQ Squared debate, marriage should not be legalised. the proposition is that same-sex the city where every year The debate was recorded in Sydney, a million people line the streets

Mardi Gras parade. to watch the world's biggest should not be legalised Arguing for the motion that same-sex is Professor Nick Tonti-Filippini, Associate Dean and Head of Bioethics for Marriage and Family. at the John Paul II Institute Annamarie Jagose. And joining him is Professor Letters, Arts and the Media She's the Head of the School of at Sydney University. And she's published widely queer theory. in the area of feminist studies and Independent Member Against the motion is Clover Moore. of the New South Wales Parliament, She's joined by Mark Textor, and campaign strategist, a leading Australian opinion pollster

and British conservative parties, who's advised Australian and most recently, Boris Johnson, Lord Mayor of London. who's just been re-elected the St James Ethics Centre in Sydney Simon Longstaff who heads up opens the debate. (Applause) our speakers You're about to hear from opened to the floor after which the debate will be participate, and I strongly encourage you to or against the proposition. to argue your case for there will be a second vote. At the end of our debate, your position You've been pre-polled to determine in relation to the motion.

There will be a second informal vote two votes compare. and after that we will see how those to make their opening statements. But now it's time for the panelists is Professor Nick Tonti-Filippini, Opening the case for the proposition Associate Dean and Head of Bioethics Marriage and Family. at the John Paul II Institute for enquiries into bioethical issues He's chaired numerous public Australian Health Ethics Committee. and was the deputy chair of the Professor Tonti-Filippini. (Applause) welcome tonight. Thank you for making me of this panel I'm very honoured to be part and a part of this style of debate for organising it at this level. and I congratulate the organisers In what I have to say tonight, sensitive topic, it's obviously a highly anybody. I really don't want to offend discrimination across the board The Rudd Government's removal of I strongly applaud. pretty much is something that something different, But we're talking about a significant change we're talking about in what marriage means. 'Union of man and woman' We're taking the words

as Simon has indicated. and replacing it, marriage means. That's a huge change to what in this brief time And what I want to do tonight change means for our community. is to explore what I think that biological marriage. The phrase I want to use is biological reality What's at stake is the between a man and a woman of the two into one flesh union and its importance to children. rights and duties The biological marriage establishes in relation to children each other and to the child because the couple is bound to at every level, nurturing, genetically, gestationally, social, physical and spiritual. relationship Biological marriage is not just a

of mutual benefits of the spouses, love by design biological marriage rather is that is fruitful and outreaching. about romance. In other words it's not just

relationships to those children It's about forming those unilateral obligations and it involves mutual and have a biological origin. of motherhood and fatherhood that for marriage. And that's why the law provides of a biological marriage, It provides for the celebration in this context. provides for gender difference generative power And recognises the uniquely man and a woman. of the union between a being extended to include children. The couple's relationship is open to And the children come into existence to that union, as an equal third party an embodiment of their love the love for each other. and thus as a permanent sign of As a consequence, identity on the children marriage confers security and biological union. because they result from that obligations of being a mother And then the unconditional gestationally, socially, and a father at all levels should physically and spiritually. crowning glory The possibility of children is the of a biological marriage. Step children... little different. .. are in circumstances that are a are irreplaceable. The biological parents of a child the same status A step parent never has exactly always overshadowed because their relationship is natural biological parent. by the reality of the existence of a the wings. There's always someone in access to natural parents The search for identity of and by donor offspring is testament parenthood. to the importance of that biological biological and step-parenting The major difference between a much more than choice. is that biological parenthood is to the child. It has all of these links union of a man and a woman The proposal then to remove the

to remove gender from the law, and in effect, in relation to the status of children in relation to parenting, for us to take, is then an incredibly serious step that we're talking about. and dramatically changes what it is Instead of husbands and fathers, there are to be parents and substitute parents, as Simon has indicated. This process of redefinition

would in fact be a cause of great injustice to children.

Denying them their right to know, to have access to and be nurtured by their biological mother and father, rights recognised in international law. We are in danger of creating another stolen generation. In a same-sex union where there are children, the child is always a step-child of at least one of them. and in reviewing the literature on step-children, particularly, because I know that the literature on parenting by two mothers, particularly, shows a parity with parenting by a mother and a father, in young children at least, and that we don't really have research that we can refer to in relation, at this stage, in relation to parenting by two fathers. That's reliable, at least. But when we look at what happens to teenagers in the circumstances of step-parenting, then we do see a difference, whatever the circumstances. But where we look at the circumstances of a stable union involving step-children and a stable union involving a mother and a biological father and the child brought up by them, then there is a difference between the two. And the child of - the child who is a step child doesn't do as well, on average, on a number of major indicators. A child in a same-sex situation will always be a step-child of one of the parties at least, and as adolescents they suffer the same disadvantages of lacking a direct relationship to at least one natural parent.

And those difficulties are shown to extend into adulthood, we've got all the records then of adoption and so on, in relation to step-children. Because the evidence indicates that the problem of being a step-child is not resolved by living with married parents, rather than de-facto parents, there is also little evidence to support the idea that gay marriage would benefit children, because the child would always be a step-child in those circumstances. The state has a role in biological marriage for the sake of any child who results to protect the child's security, identity and right to have access to and be nurtured by his or her natural mother and father. And those rights are protected by recognising biological marriage. On the other hand, the state has no reason to intrude upon same-sex unions. A same-sex relationship is incapable of generating children. Where children exist in a same-sex household, they always have a step-father or step-mother. Children in same-sex households are always - to use the phrase, are always like Cinderellas. What we know of the step-child situation also indicates that step-children living in a blended family with the biological children of the step-mother

tend to suffer disadvantages compared to her natural children. (BELL DINGS) Unfortunately, gay marriage is biologically - and I would say, according to God's design, an impossibility.

And changing the law would rob us of the institution of marriage and make marriage no longer recognised for what it is as a love that goes beyond romance at all levels, to establish the unilateral bonds of the project of being mother and father together and being bound to each other by that shared biological relationship to the child and thus protecting the child's identity, security, lineage and family connectedness. Thank you.

(Applause) Clover Moore is the Lord Mayor of the City of Sydney and an Independent Member of the New South Wales Parliament. Throughout her political career,

Clover Moore has advocated for the rights of sexual minorities. Would you please welcome her to the stage. (Applause) Thank you, Simon, and good evening everyone. I want to say first of all that I oppose the statement that same-sex marriage should not be legalised. I strongly believe that same-sex couples should have the same rights and legal protections as heterosexual couples.

And recent surveys show that the majority of Australians share this view. Same-sex marriage will happen, it's just a matter of when. You have to ask the question in an age when technological change is driving us into the future why social change takes so long and why is it so torturous? And before presenting my argument, I want to acknowledge the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, the traditional custodians of our land,

and pay my respects to their elders both past and present, and note their ongoing struggle for rights and recognition. At a fundraising function two weeks ago, I congratulated a gay couple, just back from Argentina, where they were married. They were talking excitedly about the wedding and I was very happy for them.

Their wedding didn't, as the Churches argue, demean my Catholic marriage in any way. Neither did the actions of our celebrating priest who left the Church soon after our wedding and married my university tutor - but she was female. There is a wide acceptance

that gay men and lesbians can and do have loving, caring and lifelong relationships. And it is beyond time that the law reflected this fact. And so what is the history of this law? Our legal definition of marriage, which says that marriage is between a man and a woman to the exclusion of all others for life, is from a 19th century divorce court ruling in a polygamy case. (Audience chuckles) At the time child labour was the norm, people were locked away in debtors' prisons, and women had virtually no rights. But legal rulings can and should be overturned or updated with new information and evidence and as community values change. We no longer send children down the mine or up chimneys and women now occupy the highest offices in the land. People from different races are no longer banned from marrying each other. But up until now, national leaders have kept marriages locked in a 19th century paradigm. My 1997 Significant Personal Relationships Bill in the New South Wales State Parliament

proposed a legal register to recognise same-sex couples. While it didn't pass, it inspired proposals for legislation in Tasmania and Victoria, and when I became Lord Mayor, for a City of Sydney register. New South Wales followed in 2010, 13 years after it was first proposed. Which is almost a record for social reform. A register gives same-sex couples legal protection for their relationship. But a register is not the same as marriage. Marriage is about more than legal recognition. It is a public celebration of love and life-long commitment and it is the official public acceptance of a couple - it's the official acceptance that we as a society give to a couple. Former prime minister John Howard's outrageous 2004 amendment to the Marriage Act, which passed with the support of the then ALP opposition, to expressly exclude same-sex marriage,

highlighted the discrimination in our system and it sparked a massive campaign and made marriage equality a priority for many lesbians and gay men. Ironically it also seems to have a renewed desire by many young couples to get married, including of course, heterosexual couples. As so one who has been in state parliament since 1988, local government, on and off, since 1980, and Lord Mayor of Sydney since 2004, I have played a part in pushing recalcitrant and timid governments on equal rights and social change. My 1993 Anti-Discrimination Amendment Act to stop the vilification of gay and lesbian people passed by one vote when a government member - thank you, Ted Pickering - crossed the floor. The Opposition was from the Establishment, Churches,

and we had the enduring vision of the leader of the Christian Democrats, an escapee from Sydney Hospital next door, in a wheel chair, clad in pyjamas, filibustering against the reform for three to four hours on Legislative Council. And of course he was then a subject of a standout Mardi Gras float in the next parade. (Audience laughs) What dismayed me then and dismays me now is that the Churches were exempted from the legislation and they may remain free to vilify and discriminate against gays and lesbians. That is not what I believe Christ was about. The major Churches also drove opposition to my Adoption Amendment of Same-Sex Couples Act in 2010. This Act, now law, allows same-sex couples to adopt their children as a couple in New South Wales. Ironically, before this, individual gay men and lesbians could adopt, but not as couples. When I first proposed changes in 2000 not one MP gave support. But in 2010, MPs of all parties worked to get the bill passed. This only took a lightning 10 years. I was moved by Federal Minister Penny Wong's words on a recent ABC Q&A. Se said, ' I know what my family is worth.' And I think that goes to the heart of the point. She was responding to Joe Hockey's comments that the best circumstance for children is to have a mother and a father. And she said, and I quote, 'When you say those things, Joe, what you are saying, not just to me, but to people like me, is that the most important thing in our lives, which is the people we love, is somehow less good, less valued.' I, as I'm sure all of you people do, feel moved by that statement that Penny Wong made. I believe that discriminatory laws reinforce social discrimination which supports violence and abuse of lesbians and gay men. I believe that giving same-sex couples the right to marry would send a message of acceptance. And again, I think that's what Christ was about. (Bell rings) Same-sex marriage is not a threat to the institution of marriage, it will strengthen it. Marriage is about love and commitment,

it's about building a relationship, it is not about discrimination. And I believe all citizens deserve equal treatment, irrespective of gender and sexuality, and governments should remove legal discrimination. Australians have been working towards this, and while we've made the progress there is this one last step. This step is important to same-sex couples who want to get married in Australia and celebrate with their family and friends. But it is important to all gay men and lesbians, regardless. My 1993 legislation to amend the Anti-discrimination Act was about stopping gay men and lesbians being treated as second class citizens. And marriage equality is about stopping gay and lesbian relationships being treated as less valuable.

Symbolically, marriage equality is essential. I believe it's ludicrous in our rich and socially advanced country, two consenting adults have to travel overseas - Canada and I have friends who travelled to Argentina to get married. I believe every Australian who wants to make a life commitment to the person he or she loves should be able to do so with full access to the law. And I believe that the governments should reflect societies values and apply the law equally. And I believe this is in the best interest of all couples and their children. (Cheers and applause) Professor Annamarie Jagose is Head of the School of Letters, Art and Media, at the University of Sydney. In addition to her scholarly work, she's a novelist. Her most recent novel, Slow Water, was short listed for the Miles Franklin Literary Award and has won other awards. Please welcome her. (Applause) Thanks, Simon. Good evening all. Clover reminds us that the majority of Australians believe that same-sex marriage should be legalised. She says that the question of change is not whether it will happen, but when. But isn't this also what we say about other slowly occurring disasters? Traffic impasses on George Street, for instance? Or global warming? She reminds us too, that we no longer send children up chimneys. We don't have a chimney at our place. That's why we never bothered having kids. (Laughter and murmurs) I find myself in a pretty strange position tonight. In arguing that same-sex marriage should not be legalised I propose a position that counters that of many people whose commitment to anti-homophobic politics and practice I passionately share. But I take up the strange and sometimes uncomfortable position to draw attention to the overwhelmingly simple, almost cartoonish way, in which the issue of same-sex marriage is currently framed. In most public discussions the issue of same-sex marriage is posed as a simple question, 'for or against?' Where to be 'for' or 'against' same-sex marriage is to be more or less, 'for' or 'against' gay people. But I'm arguing tonight from an adamantly left-wing, progressive and pro-gay perspective

that marriage is not a necessary good for gay people.

As an institution, marriage needs lesbians and gay men more than we need marriage. Data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics

indicate that across the last 20 or so years there's been a steady increase in divorce rates. A third of the marriages celebrated this weekend will end in divorce.

Across the same time period there's been a decline in marriage rates. More people divorcing, less people marrying means that the percentage of married people in the total population is slowly shrinking. Feeling suspicious yet? The marriage that we are being invited to join in 2012 is not a flourishing, bullish opportunity. In an increasingly secular world, in a country like ours, where the legal entitlements that were once bundled with marriage are largely available, to all de facto couples - straight or gay - marriage has fallen on tough times. Although most of the talk of legitimation focuses on the recognition that marriage would extend to gay men and lesbians the truth is that lesbians and gay men are desperately needed

to revive the flagging fortunes of marriage. (Laughter) But can we really be bothered? Since the 1961 Marriage Act the definition of marriage in Australia is 'the union of a man and a woman, to the exclusion of all others, voluntarily entered into for life.' A lot of the tension has focused recently on that pesky opening phrase 'The union of a man and a woman...' but shouldn't we look as carefully at the rest of this almost entirely fanciful definition? To the exclusion of all others? For life? This is not a very good description or definition of marriage as it exists today. At best it is a wishful description.

An idealised account of how we,

individually and collectively, wish marriage would work. (Chuckles) The credibility gap between the soft-focus idealisation of marriage

and its grittier realities

suggests something of the scale of bad faith implicit in public discussions of marriage. Lesbian and gay communities, and the feminist communities which they have historically overlapped, have long celebrated the values of sexual diversity over the sexual conformity represented by marriage and the ethical importance of straight-talking about sex, rather than the double standard so frequently observed in marriage's vicinity. Gay men and lesbians can sneak around with the best of them, of course. But marriage, as it is legally defined, generates conditions for sexual dishonesty, disavow and hypocrisy. The argument in favour of extending legal marriage to same-sex couples depends primarily on wanting to extend the benefits and privilege of marriage to lesbians and gays but it must be recognised that this comes at a cost. Allowing gays and lesbians to marry will not stop marriage from being exclusionary.

In recognising some gay and lesbian relationships as marriages same-sex marriage emphasises the continued illegitimacy of other sexual arrangements and other social actors. The legalisation of same-sex marriage has risky consequences

that exceed the good intentions of many of those arguing for it. Marriage recognises the worth of some relationships by raising them over the worth of others. Outside the newly enlarged circle of social approval and privilege

afforded by same-sex marriage will stand those, whose erotic lives are not organised around the values symbolised by marriage, coupledom, monogamy, permanence, domestic co-habitation. Unmarried mothers, for instance. Adulterers. The devotedly promiscuous. Sex-workers, the divorced, the bigamists and polygamists. Those who are not strangers to the august traditions of the dirty weekend or the one night stand. Single people. (Audience laughs) Now this rag-tag bunch might not seem as worthy of social protection and prestige as the loving, caring long term, loving gay and lesbian couples that are the shiny new poster boys and girls for same-sex marriage. But they remind us to ask something that advocates of same-sex marriage, in their eagerness, forget to ask - (Bell dings) Why should marriage continue in the 21st century to be a primary mechanism for the distribution of social recognition and privilege? Important questions of social justice equity and social belonging cannot get worked out across such an absurdly constrained and increasingly irrelevant category as marriage. Presenting itself as a magical solution while only distracting us from the real and un addressed conditions of social inequity, marriage is a red herring for the 21st century pursuit of social justice. (Applause) Mark Textor is a leading Australian opinion pollster and campaign strategist. His self-taught skills in polling have been honed in such diverse environments as U.S. Congressional races, Fijian general elections,

as well as his work for the Conservatives in the UK and Australia. He is now a founding partner in the campaign strategy group, Crosby Textor. Mark Textor. (Applause)

G'day. Um, well, I speak here today

as somebody who's not engaged in alternative intimacies,

but as a loving father, husband, family member, Conservative party pollster, and campaigner for five prime ministers, dozens of chief ministers, premiers and governors in every continent in the world. And in doing so I hope to demonstrate as my appearance for Clover does tonight, the political and public diversity in favour of same-sex marriage. Now, what I want to do tonight is talk about some of the fundamentals of how people break down same-sex marriage in Australia. And you might be surprised to hear that in all the campaigns I've been involved in, one thing is very clear. The truth is a powerful thing. And one should experiment with it occasionally. And the fundamental truths of same-sex marriage is that our support for it should be based on four clear principles. A belief in values. A belief in the inevitability and alignment with reform in Australia. The practicality of having one set of laws in Australia. And that thing that's been missing from a highly cynical debate,

and indeed, highly cynical remarks about marriage in Australia, is the aspiration of a good strong life. So, first to values. I wrote recently in the Sydney Morning Herald that many aspiring politicians are fond of using the term, 'family values' in an attempt, I assume, to channel leaders like Ronald Reagan, who they believe use the term often. Now, I worked for Ronald Reagan's pollster, Richard Wirthlin, for six years. And he was a Mormon Elder, of all people,

but even he said there are no such things as family values. Indeed, he said in his 1986 State of the Union Address, and despite the pressure of our modern world, the family and the community remain the moral core of our society. They are the guardians of our values and hopes for the future. They are why, why we say private values must be at the heart of public policy. And while Reagan spoke of values and families - as I said, he does not speak of family values. That is because he understood, as many don't, that there are no such things as family values but those things that are important to families. These include, self esteem - coming from partner or parental love, accomplishments -

such as when a parent teaches their child how to read, or when a same-sex couple buy a house together, a sense of physical and personal security that comes from home and tender contact, and happiness that comes from a sense of belonging and love. These are the things that are important to families and to partnership, not family values.

The second reason, as a Conservative, that I believe that others - in fact all in the community should support same-sex marriage, is because Conservative liberals are reformists.

Now, Australians have an amazing capacity to not be happy about reform but accept it on a continuum. The majority of Australians agree that reform has made Australia and our society stronger. And as a number of academics have already observed

this process of reform has been gradual. Australians have accepted reforms to marriage, divorce and property. They've accepted the effective rejection of dowries. They've accepted inter-racial multi-faith marriage. They've accepted combined families. They've accepted the criminalisation of rape in marriage. And they have even accepted civil marriage. And I agree with others in academia to say that it's unfair to say that marriage may be a reform for the sake of anyone and everyone in that process we've just heard of except for homosexual couples. They kind of have a B-class share in society. We'll have marriage and we'll have another share of marriage. And that gets to the third point, which is practicality. Costello said, a very conservative man, a Methodist, and baptised, said 'Australians must adhere to the framework and society which maintains tolerance and protects the rights and liberties of all. There is one law we are all expected to abide by.' Now, he actually said this in relation to Sharia law. And that excites some conservatives. But you cannot believe in one law for all for some issues and some people, and all society, and not for same-sex couples. Lastly, let's talk of aspiration. And I think this gets to the heart of the issue. Denying the aspirations of Australians. This wonderful, positive, remarkable country in the bottom end of the world who's made its own success. A country that's dealt with its problems, it's dealt with racism and the rejection of certain members, and ultimately finds a way to accept all groups. Now, for the conservatives out there, and in the room, I say one thing. If you read, for example, a little document called - written many, many, many years ago, called the The Liberal Party Constitution and Platform.

And it says - and remember, this shows the diversity of views,

that they believe in equal with Australians having the equal - having the opportunity to reach their full potential in a tolerant national community. (Bell dings) Australians may well ask, 'why not the full potential of recognised marriage?' How can we say we've achieved equality when we prevent loving couples from marriage

on the basis of their sexuality? At the core of Australian liberalism is the belief and freedom to achieve success and contribute to our society. That means through the family unit, the parental unit and the partnership unit, however it is constituted. If one believes in the aspiration of a better life and a happier life, which Australia should produce for all its citizens then one must get behind laws that truly enable all Australians to achieve their desire of the societal bond and affirmation of recognised marriage. Not a second-class version, a B-class share, for those who happen to believe or to be in same-sex partnerships. Anything else, is marriage apartheid. Liberals and conservatives are fond of the expression, 'a hand up, not a hand out.' I believe that civil unions only sound like a hand out to me. I believe same-sex marriage is the hand that reaches to a higher aspiration for us all. (Bell dings) I love my country. I'm a conservative patriot. But I want it to be a better place. But not just for some. I want it to be a better place for all including the recognition of the bond of love between people. We've heard a lot of words about love and values tonight from both sides. How can you deny love and value? How can you divide those two notions by having two concepts for it? The A and the B-class share of a marriage. That is wrong. And un-Australian. (Applause) Well, ladies and gentlemen, you've heard from a quite extraordinarily diverse range of opinions on this topic. I'm tempted to say that both sides make for strange bedfellows. (Audience murmurs) It's now an opportunity to open the debate to you on the floor. And I see that there's one speaker already up and there may be a few others too. OK, your name, and your minute starts now. My name is Peter Maddin. I'm also the father of four beautiful children. And I just want to ask the panel here. Number one, Clover Moore, who again and again, related same-sex marriage to race and racial equality. I know many former homosexuals but I don't know any former Aboriginals or former black people. And I'd just like you to speak into that because it's a totally different issue. (Audience murmurs) Secondly, the argument that we've just heard. Where do we draw the line with equality? Should a father be able to marry his daughter, a brother, his sister, an 11-year-old boy, an 11-year-old girl, if they love each other? Where do we set the boundaries? We've got to determine that we have a boundary here. This is an ancient construct that has served our society very well, right through our history. And if we tamper with it there are major consequences. Is it only for same-sex marriage? This speaks of the slippery slope argument. There are many different arguments but I'd like you to speak of that one, thank you. MODERATOR: Thank you. (Audience applause) Feel free to applaud the people on the floor. OK, speaking against the motion. I'm certainly speaking against the motion. And I'm not sure that either of the good professors were really speaking for the motion. Professor Filippi-Tonti appeared to be arguing in favour of a new legal concept which we might call biological marriage, as if marriage should only be limited to those people who've fulfilled his definition of biological marriage which is a concept not known in Australian law, which would seem to exclude all marriages that fall outside this very limited definition. And the other good professor appeared to be arguing against the merits of marriage. Surely, if she believes if marriage is as outmoded and deserves rejection, same-sex couples should be given the opportunity to reject it. (Audience cheers loudly) OK, well, look. We're going to come to those who are in the aisle. We've got plenty of time to discuss this. I'm just going to make sure that we don't lose track here because everybody here, except you, Mark, is getting a bit of a serve. (Audience laughs) Nicholas Tonti-Filippini, there's been a few directed to you. And I was going to start with you then I'm going to come to you, Clover,

on whether or not you have - CLOVER: When do we answer the questions? Now. I'm going to come to you in a moment. So, first of all, to Nicholas Tonti-Filippini. What I presented was certainly the ideals of marriage and I don't shy away from that.

I think that's what we should be supporting. We should be supporting the ideals We know it breaks down. We know that there are all sorts of difficulties with it. But we know it's the best way of protecting the identity, the status, the lineage, the connectedness of children to their parents, and we know that that's to their advantage. So that's really quite important. And when I talked about biological marriage, in relation to the question over here, I referred to biological marriage because that is what the marriage between a man and a woman is. It's a biological marriage. And that distinguishes it from any other kind of union. That is what - when you refer to a union between a man and a woman, you are referring to a biological as well as a spiritual union. And we shouldn't be forgetting that. And I think it's very important that we realise that this debate is about sexuality. It is about - the question that was put by my colleague here, in terms of, you know, 'why just those people?' The reason why 'just those people', is that we are talking about sex between people of the same sex and looking to try and give that recognition. And what we're trying to do is borrow the recognition that belongs to marriage,

because marriage is biological and marriage is about children as is located in that context of children. And that's why we should have a law about it. And that's why we should honour it. And we do.

OK. Now, Clover Moore, you were challenged - (Audience applause) Thank you. You were challenged on a couple of grounds. One, that you'd appropriated the language of human rights, in relation to things like race, and you were misapplying it to this debate. That was the first charge. And the second one that was made was that you were introducing a slippery slope in which any kind of relationship, without any boundary, would be acceptable. Your response. Well, whilst I - every time I speak at a public event I acknowledge the original custodians of the land. It's what I always do and I do it always in this hall because we have city talks here. So I am not sure if that is the confusion that Peter Maddin has and why he made that reference. But the 'slippery slope' argument is, I just think -

that whole argument is based on prejudice and it's based on discrimination. And I just reject it.

I don't think it's Australian. I don't think it's 21st century. And I think it has no place in our community and our society. And I just reject it. (Audience applause loudly) Annamarie? Thunderous applause for the person who says, if it's not that good, well, let gay and lesbians, same-sex couples, actually reject it, freely. Well, I think it's probably pretty clear to alert members of the audience that while Nicholas and I are emphatically on the same team, arguing that same-sex marriage should not be legalised,

we're doing so from rather different perspectives. (Audience laughs) I thought a few of you could have been asleep down the back there. But we have been united in our strategy of having unpronounceable surnames. (Audience laughs) Which I think is working pretty well for us tonight. (Audience laughs) As for the argument about same-sex couples

being given a fair go at rejecting a corrupt or limp institution this argument can only work if we agree, as people largely do, although not me, that marriage is entirely a personal decision. It's entirely a private relationship between two loving people, and it has no consequence for anyone else.

I have argued in my speech tonight, that, in fact, marriage's exclusions are consequential for the unmarried. Whether that unmarried is, at present, same-sex couples in long-term relationships, or whether post-legislative change, it will be a whole myriad set of other sexual actors, equally, members of our community, who do not conform to these notions of monogamy, permanence, etc. So for me the matter is not a simple matter, it's not a consumer decision, 'Do I look good in that?'

The question is, do any of us have the right to occupy positions of privilege, that depend on excluding people who are not like us. Mark talks tonight of diversity - by that he means people who are exactly like married heterosexuals except in one respect. I call that conformity. OK. (APPLAUSE) We've got really little time left, and I'll get to as many as I can. Are you for or against? For the motion? Up there, microphone three.

I'm both. I'm each way. Away you go.

I have a solution, because I heard perhaps the two most interesting arguments from the 'for' side, I think, tonight. Sorry, guys over there.

However, my heart lies with you in the against motion. Nick, you talk about marriage being biological - I am a happily married woman, I am barren. And I have no children, and I reject that notion of marriage wholeheartedly. (Applause) OK, thank you, that - On that note I make the proposal that we may find a solution and a resolve to this.

First of all, in order that your marriage may remain in its holy biological state, let's ban divorce, adoption and fostering, let's ban marriage for barren women, such as myself, and people that don't want children, and in the case of equality, for the other side, discrimination, we do have anti-discrimination legislation, and last time I looked, we were still a secular society, so I really do think it's time we opened up marriage,

if we're going to keep it, to same-sexy couples too. Thank - Ultimately my argument for the 'for' though, would be supportive of Annamarie. After having made marriage able to be open to same-sex couples, why don't we just ban the Marriage Act. What interest has the law got in how people live and who they choose to have sex with?

(Bell Dings) (Applause)

OK. One minute, next, go. Mike Bloomfield is my name, listen guys,

I don't know what the intelligence level is here, but this is a room of ethics. And only one man is qualified to speak on ethics in your presence, now listen up good. You can have 24 hour day, instead of day and night, but it will never happen in the natural. Listen good to the gentleman here, because his god has already answered, OK, you already have the ruling, and you have a Christ in heaven who has already ruled against this, and your incoming Prime Minister also has. (Crowd jeers) OK, thank you. A passionate final... OK, now the votes have been cast and they're being counted and what I'm going to ask you to do now, each for two minutes, I'm going to give you a little task. Apart from your general summary, Mark Textor, you go first, OK? Then we go to you, Annamarie. Then to you, Clover, and I'd ask if you could particularly come back to what people felt unsatisfied with your answer about, 'Do you allow a slippery slope and are you going to support things simply because they're popular?' And then finally, Nicholas, I think you've got a long list but you can go with it. (Audience laughs) So, starting with you now, two minutes please, Mark, away you go. Umm, yeah, thank you. This has been very interesting indeed. And I've got to say, what a marvellous celebration of democracy in progress, where everybody can have their say without fear of intimidation and hopefully a balanced outcome will be raised. And I think what we're talking about tonight, and I think the essence of what we're saying on our side, is that we're not for revolution. We're for evolution. A word that mightn't be popular with you. Because I'm an empiricist, I like evidence. What we've seen is the gradual and gentle process of democracy. I do not believe the law should lead. Law without the boundaries of public opinion is oppression. So we should moderate the law, all parts of our society would integrate, and at the moment they're saying this. More and more people are joining in same sex union. There is a great societal cost when they don't, unnecessary pain, unnecessary division in our society. We all would like less division, we'd like vibrant debate but less personal division for very little cost, for the change of three words, despite the straw men of extra processes and everything else. Let's have what Australians desire, which is the aspiration of something better. Thank you. (Applause) Professor Annamarie Jargose, your two minutes begins now. I can't help but notice that almost no-one tonight has addressed my challenge. Almost no-one from the floor, and certainly no-one from the opposing team. No-one has really responded to my argument that same sex marriage replicates differently the same forms of social exclusion that are intrinsic to marriage. And that's my challenge to Clover and her rebuttal. I wrote a whole speech - I want to hear something. (Laughter) Given the narrow terms of the public conversation to date, when people say they are for same sex marriage, they are mostly saying, as we heard Mark say tonight, that they are for the recognition of gays and lesbians and their social worlds, for social justice, for equity, for a world without discrimination. Me too. But we don't need marriage for any of that. The real test of an ethical position should be whether we are willing to extend rights, recognitions and privileges, not to those almost exactly like us, but to those we don't know,

and with whom we might not have anything in common to those whose ways are unfamiliar, and not fully understood. Why not imagine a social world

that doesn't privilege the same old comfortingly familiar, monogamous long-term couple. Although many tonight have suggested same-sex marriage is the last frontier of human equality, extending marriage to same sex couples is a well-intentioned step in the wrong direction. Rather than resuscitate the feeble institution of marriage by extending its reach to long term monogamously coupled homosexuals, we should be honouring the very important feminist critique that refuses to see people's value tied to their marital status. We should be working to secure a broader, non-discriminatory landscape where social belonging is not linked to the shape taken by people's intimate or erotic relations.

(Applause) The Lord Mayor of Sydney, Clover Moore. So, you wanted me to address a couple of those questions, and the slippery slope argument is one that's put up, and I do reject it.

I just think it's a classic view based on prejudice. And it's also a classic opposition to change. If you have change, the sky will fall in. I know that as a reformer for all of my political life, that you consult with people, you get a majority view, you make a commitment to carry out an action, and you carry it out. And some do think that the sky will fall in, and, you know, the sky never does. The ideal of marriage that's put forward, it's not like that for a lot of people. So, I think what we're trying to do with our laws is to work out what is the majority good? And I believe this law is about inclusion, not exclusion. And I think Annamarie has a right to her very clever view. I just think that that is her right, but for many other people, and many of the people I represent, being able to have a recognition of their relationship is as good as a heterosexual marriage, that's really important to them, and they have a right to choose. So it is about rights, and it is about acceptance, it's about a family, a gay couple with two children that have been adopted or through other means, being able to be accepted as a normal family in the community. We are very varied in the families that we have, but what governments should be all about is supporting families who raise - I believe governments should be about

supporting loving, supportive families.

Thank you. (Applause) And last, but certainly not least, your two minutes, Professor Nick Tonti-Filippini. Thanks, Simon. And what I've been saying all through tonight

is that the interests of the law in sexuality, the interests of the law in what people do sexually, is only because the relationships may produce children.

And if they don't produce children, if they're incapable of producing children, that is, they're not the kind of relationships that can produce children, why would the law be interested in them at all? This is an issue of exclusion, and I differ from Clover on this. That the passing of a law to take out the biological marriage from the marriage definition would exclude the importance of that legislation for children. The importance of that legislation for securing the relationship that children have to their parents, their biological parents. And that connectedness that is important in terms of their lineage, in terms of their identity and their security. And we've seen it in this State where a child's biological parent was struck off the birth certificate. And that's what this legislation is producing, it's producing a set of circumstances where gender doesn't matter. Yet we know that gender DOES matter. We do know that your relationship to your mother and your father does matter. We do know that it's important that a child has a mother.

And we're talking about allowing circumstances where children will be deliberately produced with no relationship to their mother whatsoever. Those are the issues that are here, it is an issue of exclusion - AN exclusion of those children's rights. And those rights are recognised in international law, and if we pass this sort of legislation, we'll be failing that whole generation. (Applause) It is now time for the final poll results. Now before the debate... ..here is how the results stood. For the motion, 15%. Against the motion, 75%. And 10% were undecided. So there's a lot at stake in this, in terms of the moves that happen. In a moment I'm going to reveal to you the results. And you might think that the debate has been won purely on the numbers, but you might also be interested in the size of any swing. At least I know Mark Textor will be. (Laughing) Again, the results before the debate - undecided 10%, for 15% and against 75%. At the conclusion of the debate, 7.1% are undecided. For the motion, an increase of 4.6% to 19.6%. But with a huge margin against, 73.3% and therefore I declare that the motion has been lost. (Applause)

The debate has been that same sex marriage should not be legalised. Please will you join with me in congratulating the negative for their win,

but particularly all our speakers - Professor Nick Tonti-Filipini, Lord Mayor of Sydney, Clover Moore, Annamarie Jargose and Mark Textor. (Applause) You've been watching an IQ2 debate, arguing the proposition that same-sex marriage should not be legalised.

It was recorded in Sydney at the City Recital Centre in Angel Place. Our thanks to the St James Ethics Centre and IQ2 Australia. And you can view this edition on our website and follow us on Facebook and Twitter.

We'll have more of these debates throughout the year, so look out for them. That's all for Big Ideas today. I'm Waleed Aly. Catch you next time. Closed Captions by CSI This Program is Captioned

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