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Wednesday, 17 September 2008
Page: 7797

Mr ROBERT (9:49 AM) —I rise to bring to the attention of the House some disturbing trends in the way that the Rudd Labor government is treating the institution and indeed the foundation of marriage. Mr Rudd said on 23 October last year:

… on the institution of marriage itself, our view is this: it’s an institution between a man and a woman and that’s just been our traditional continuing view.

He also said on the same day:

The Marriage Act relates to a union between a man and a woman and that remains Labor policy, as it has been in the past and will be into the future.

These are statements that, clearly, I support, as does our side of the political divide.

But the question is: has Mr Rudd been true to these statements he made before the election? Have the Australian people who voted for a Labor government actually got what they expected, or have they been conned?

I refer the House to a number of pieces of legislation that have come before it this year—firstly, the Same-Sex Relationships (Equal Treatment in Commonwealth Laws—Superannuation) Bill 2008, which is looking to remove the word ‘marriage’ from various acts of parliament and replace it with the term ‘couple relationship’, acknowledging the status of a homosexual relationship as a couple relationship and marriage in the terms of those bills as just another couple relationship. We agree with financial and property justice for people in same-sex relationships—indeed, all people should have access to financial and property justice. But changing the definition of ‘marriage’ is certainly not supported.

Within the superannuation bill for same-sex couples, the Labor government is also looking to redefine ‘a child’ as ‘a product of a couple relationship’, indeed a product of a same-sex relationship. This is something out of a Monty Python skit. It is almost impossible for a child to be the product of anything other than a man and a woman. We agree with protecting the property and financial rights of children, but changing the definition of ‘a child’ is not satisfactory.

In the same-sex relationship omnibus bill coming before the House there are amendments to the Migration Act which will likely permit homosexual marriages contracted overseas to be recognised for the purposes of couple visas under regulations to the act.

The Labor government has put legislation through the lower house to allow pornography back into Aboriginal communities if indeed the communities want it. How does that protect marriages? They are looking at changes to regulations, or have in the past, to allow AusAID funds to be used overseas for abortions. How does that protect marriage?

We do not and will not support any change to or devaluation of the traditional status of marriage as a foundation—indeed, the bedrock—of our society. Frankly, I am surprised at the Australian Labor Party. These five key pieces of legislation in the first seven months would seem to indicate a trend and a pattern, and it is disturbing.