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Wednesday, 13 September 2017
Page: 7094

Senator ROBERTS (Queensland) (10:58): As a servant to the people of Queensland and Australia, I want to speak on the Marriage Law Survey (Additional Safeguards) Bill 2017 to highlight one point—that is, we need to stop weakening people. Instead, we need to strengthen people. Singling out people, as the term 'LGBTIQ' does, becomes divisive and hurts people. It is the same as singling out people because they're Aboriginals or females or aged or teens. Instead, we need to include all people, and that is real equality of opportunity. We need to stop the division. We need, instead, to unify.

Hate speech, to confess, is not on people's minds because the incidence is low. Most people can understand the point I am going to make in a few minutes. We can deal with hate speech by showing that we don't accept it. That's the key: that we don't accept it. While I empathise with Senator Wong's pain, I do not sympathise with her. I can empathise with any hurt she feels, yet I'm not going to reinforce her pain because all pain in my experience comes from within.

Senator Wong says in her speech, 'decent people will agree with her.' But there she is, subtly vilifying everyone by calling them 'not decent'. That is what has crept into this parliament. To end hate speech, we need to stop separating people, stop singling people out, and stop singling groups out. We need to stop disempowering people, stop weakening people and stop crippling people. How ironic it is that the people proclaiming hurt are perpetuating, prolonging and deepening pain.

We support the people of Australia being heard, as Senator Hanson has just said. Unfortunately, this place—this chamber and the House of Representatives—is in a bubble, out of touch. We should not be taking the opportunity to decide on this important issue about marriage away from the people of our country. It is the people of Australia who are the sovereigns; it is the people who we are supposed to be serving. We need to unshackle Australians, the most wonderful of nationalities on this planet, and we need to unshackle all humans, by treating people with the dignity of being heard. That is fundamentally why we supported the plebiscite. And, listening to people across Queensland, I don't hear anyone raising same-sex marriage as urgent, nor do I hear about vilification, or even trembling about fear of vilification. I only hear these claims in the left-wing media and in this Canberra bubble.

I hear Senators Wong, Rice and others, and I empathise with them. I hear their pain from accepting what some may say to them, but there is a choice: we don't have to accept what others say to us, about us or against us. That people choose to take it personally is their choice. When people speak about another person, it tells me more about the speaker than about their subject. My choice is to treat Senators Wong, Rice and others, regardless of their views, with respect. My choice is to listen, and to do what I can to ensure that people are heard. But I ask, why do some senators let other people's value judgements push them around and control them? Offence can only be taken, never given. As Senator Hinch said earlier on: 'Some cretin said that Hitler was right.' Well, he made his defence right there by describing that person as a cretin. He said that person was a cretin. We don't need any more.

While people in this bubble are working around trying to prop up fragile egos, we see instead carbon dioxide being vilified, humans being vilified, and industry and progress being vilified—and everyone ignores it. But that is a vilification of the human race and human progress. We see energy costs exploding and people dying, yet we dodge the issue or we pretend that we have a solution to the issue. We see government taking control of people's lives, and what do we do, in this bubble? We increase control with more regulations. We see tax crippling our economy, businesses and jobs. And yet what do we do? We increase taxes and we complicate taxes. We see property rights being stolen without redress, and then we dress that up as an issue, to steal more land through the Murray-Darling Basin Plan, and as other issues.

People's rights must be put to a vote, because non-LGBTIQ people deserve to be heard. Marriage is an institution that transcends this parliament. It is a part of being human. It is fundamental. All views should be respected and consulted—and heard. That's why we in Pauline Hanson's One Nation Party listen to people and always will listen to people. That is our first responsibility. I echo the words of Senator Hanson, who preceded me.