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Wednesday, 31 August 2016
Page: 127

Mr FEENEY (Batman) (13:57): Congratulations on your re-election, Mr Speaker.

The SPEAKER: I thank the member for Batman.

Mr FEENEY: It is an honour to be returned to this House as the member for Batman and to speak once again in support of marriage equality—a key issue for my electorate and, indeed, a key issue for the nation. This Prime Minister continues to insist that a plebiscite is the only option to achieve marriage equality, but of course we know that is not true. It is, rather, the only option he has in a party room where he is constrained by his extreme right wing. Instead, members, we have the option to do our jobs, as freshly elected representatives in the immediate aftermath of an election, and vote on a marriage equality bill immediately. There is no need for this to be an all or nothing issue.

I am proud to support Bill Shorten and Tanya Plibersek as they seek to introduce a private member's bill that will make marriage equality a reality—and it will make it a reality without a costly plebiscite, without the expenditure of more than $160 million and without putting our constituents through a divisive and unnecessary national debate. I urge the Prime Minister to demonstrate something he has failed to do hitherto: to show some courage, to take a stand and to allow a free vote in this parliament on marriage equality immediately; to let this parliament do the task that it is entrusted with; and for each and every one of us to discharge our responsibilities fresh after an election.