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Monday, 7 November 2016
Page: 2037

Senator HANSON (Queensland) (19:49): I have listened to some of the comments here and I have spoken to many people on the streets and listened to their concerns about this. You say the parliament should make the decision on this. Has anyone really considered how the public feel about this? Is it going to be a social issue—the impact on the Australian people of a plebiscite on same-sex marriage? I have no problem with people who want to be with people of the same sex. Everyone has a right to live their life with happiness and how they want to in their own homes. But what I am hearing from people is that they want the word 'marriage' to be defined as being between a man and a woman. If you want to bring in equality, if you are a homosexual and you want to marry someone of the same sex, let's make it a 'civil ceremony'. Why do you have to use the word 'marriage', which is defined as being between a man and woman? The public would come along with you. They would agree with you.

Same-sex marriage has a social impact and I think it has not been discussed on the floor of this parliament. Tell the people how it will impact on their lives. What are the numbers who want to marry? I have spoken to a lot of gay couples. They do not want to marry; they are not interested in it. So here we have a minority who are pushing their views onto the majority of Australians. The parliament, especially those in the opposition, does not want to go to a plebiscite. You know that the majority of people out there in society might vote against it and you are not game to put up with that and face it.

I have heard the arguments on the floor of the parliament. You have said there is going to be intolerance and hate speech. That was not the case in Ireland. Is that a weak excuse for not putting it out there and letting the people know about it and have their opinion? It is not about this parliament. We are representatives of the people. But when it comes to a social issue like this, it is up to the people to have their say. Don't deny them their democracy to have their say—because it will impact on our society.

I personally have called for a referendum—and it is One Nation policy. Why? Because section 51 of the Australian Constitution defines the word 'marriage'. 'Marriage', as interpreted by the founders of our Federation, is between a man and a woman. If this parliament passes the word 'marriage' to define couples of the same sex, then who is to say that further down the track in this parliament we will not pass multiple marriages as the same case? So let's put it to a referendum for the people to define the word 'marriage'. Put it to the people: do we define 'marriage' as people of the same sex or people of the opposite sex as well? Let's put it in our Constitution. Apart from that, if that is not the case, then let's send it to a plebiscite for the people to decide. I personally believe that marriage is between a man and a woman, but, if the people of this country in a plebiscite decide to vote that marriage can be between those of the same sex, I will abide by their wishes. I will support it in this parliament because that is what the people want.

This is where my concern is. I will be moving an amendment in this parliament that I believe the plebiscite should go to the next election. A cost to the Australian taxpayer of $170 million is a disgrace. It should go to the next election so people can vote on this at the next election. We cannot afford it. I am fighting for money to clean up the family law courts. People are suiciding. There are farmers. I went to Charleville. Farmers there are distraught because they cannot farm their land and have no help from the government whatsoever. We can use that money in many areas—hospitals, schools and other areas—without spending $170 million on a plebiscite.

How many people are we actually talking about? If you truly love someone, do you really need to have a certificate that says you are married? That commitment can be made to anyone. How you feel about a person comes from your heart. You do not need to have it defined to have it justified. Besides, I will tell you now: I have been married twice. It is not all it is cracked up to be. It is not as fantastic as everyone thinks it might be.

We are paying interest of $40 million a day. Can we afford that? No, we cannot. We have to be mindful that this country is in debt and what it is costing us. Then there is your call about marriage equality. Equality means 'right across the board'. They have rights to superannuation and everything else as far as marriage is concerned. I acknowledge that and I totally agree with it. I have heard the cases of couples of the same sex making fantastic parents. I have no problem with that whatsoever. But where are the rights of the child? Under marriage equality, you are going to talk about the adoption of children. Where are the rights of the child to be brought up in a home where there is balance between a male and a female? I will be criticised for this because I speak my mind. Add it to the list.

I want people to understand what will happen with this. If you have marriage equality, then you must have adoption of children. That is part of it. The rights of the child. I am concerned about that. Also, what happens when those children of same-sex couples go to school and the teacher says, 'Johnny and Susan, I want you to draw a picture of your home with your mummy, your daddy and your siblings,' but the children say, 'I don't have a mummy' or 'I don't have a daddy'? So, further down the track, are we going to say, 'No longer can you call that person your mummy, your daddy, your grandma or your grandad because that offends the children who do not have that'? I do not know. Can anyone in this House tell me: what do they call the people of same sex in that household? Are considerations of those kids being taken into account? We change it now when at schools we do not sing Christmas carols because it offends a certain religion. We do not do that because it offends a certain race. Has this been debated? Tell the people what the future holds for them. Let them make an informed decision. That is what I am saying. Put the facts out there. Let the people know, because it will have a social impact on our society and people have a right. Let them have their say. Let them have their vote. We owe the people of Australia this. I will stand by their decision. Are you prepared to do that? If they vote no, against it, are you still going to push for this until the parliament gets its own way?

Look at the minorities. I am sick and tired of adhering to the minorities in this country. Let's look at what the majority wants. That is what it is all about.

Senator Whish-Wilson: You're a minority too.

Senator HANSON: That may be the case. Is it? You are not listening to the people. You do not listen to how people feel.

The ACTING DEPUTY PRESIDENT ( Senator Ketter ): Senator Hanson, would you direct your comments to the chair, please? I just make the comment that senators are entitled to be heard in silence. Thank you.

Senator HANSON: Sorry, Acting Deputy President. You are right. I have friends and acquaintances and work colleagues who are homosexual. I have spoken to them and a lot of these people do not agree with marriage. They do not want it; they do not agree with it. In all honesty, give the people their right to have a vote. I stand by the plebiscite and the wishes of the majority of Australians. I say: put it to the vote at the next election and let the people have their say.