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Monday, 13 February 2012
Page: 807

Mr HAASE (Durack) (11:40): This private member's motion relating to the Marriage Act is interesting, to say the least, because it is not just a hypothetical, as the mover has suggested, but also a contradiction. It asks us as a parliament to consider, in changed legislation, a guarantee that such and such an act will not be enforced. We have legislation which describes the contract of marriage—it is between a man and a woman, entered into voluntarily, to the exclusion of all others, for life. By definition, that does not include the marriage of same-sex couples.

But we are being told that we need to move into the 21st century and get out there with other nations around the world which have changed their legislation. We have legislation. If our legislation is not sacrosanct—to be changed only if necessary for the betterment of good government—then what is the qualification of legislation? Why should we take any notice of any legislation if we can, at the whim of a minority group, seek to change it? There seems to me to be something dreadfully illogical about referring to the sanctity of legislation and then, at the drop of a hat, wanting to change it. It just does not make sense.

We are all embracing modernity today and GetUp! is considered to be one of the great modern institutions we should all be aware of the significance of. Yet they rate the importance of same-sex marriage and equality in marriage as 11th out of 12 issues. About 14 per cent of the population strongly support changing the Marriage Act while 18 per cent strongly oppose changing the Marriage Act. But what about that vast silent majority for whom this is not even on the radar? Why on earth must we rush headlong to change things simply for the sake of change?

I find it dreadfully offensive that we are, as though we were all Independents, supposed to rush around plumbing the depths of public opinion to find another point of minority interest so that we can drag that minority group under our clutches. It does not make sense for good, honest, upright members of this chamber to be dragged into such a debate simply because the government of the day wishes to embrace these minorities in order to maintain their support in votes in this House. It is not only a contradiction; it is an affront to good government. We do not need to rush around willy-nilly, heading in different directions and plucking at things to support, when there are so many shameful goings-on being driven by this government as policy today.

I deplore this whole process of embracing and accepting these motions in this place today—and they are numerous. We have the one from the member for Melbourne, another one from the member for Denison and a contribution from the member for Throsby. I do not quite know—maybe he is just formally condoning this relationship between minority groups and the government of the day. Maybe they wish to add this contradiction to their long list of failures. There seems little sense to this other than change for the sake of change—change perhaps to take the scrutiny, the public heat, away from the government's failed policy and their untruths. Maybe that is the basis of the government having all these bills brought to the House by Independents.

I do not believe that the population of this country want further nonsense from this government—they want a change of government. This would probably be one of the least important issues ever brought this House for the majority—and don't we aspire to govern for the majority? Don't we want good governance that will lead this nation forward to a brighter future, setting good, solid role models for the future of our children? This ought to be an honourable place and a place of permanence. It ought to have good legislation brought before it for good reasons. There is no good reason for the introduction of any of these bills and they ought to be voted down.