Thursday 7th December 2017 was a historic day, a day where freedoms that were available to heterosexual adults were made available to all Australian adults.
I’m pleased to be able to say that the 7th of December 2017 is the day Marriage Equality passed parliament. A day many in the Melbourne Ports community have campaigned for years to achieve, a result that I have fought for years to bring about in parliament.
The long awaited results of the Marriage Equality Survey, released on the 15th November, gave a clear victory to supporters of Marriage Equality with 61% of support around the nation.
The constituents of our electorate, Melbourne Ports voted the third highest result in the country with 82% voting YES for Marriage Equality. The electorate’s participation rate in the survey was solid too, with 86,112 of us or 82.2% of the eligible voters having their say.
There are 150 federal electorates across Australia, 133 of them voted YES and 17 voted NO. If this had been a conventional referendum, the vote would have carried in one of the clearest results in Australia’s history.
Labor, Bill Shorten, and I did not support the ABS Postal Survey. We would have preferred the Parliament deal with this issue as it is elected to do. However, there is no doubt that the eventual result was positive for the LGBTI community and for the Australian sense of fairness. The nation has made it clear that Australians thought it was about time the Federal Parliament acted.
While I and the Labor Party do not support the concept of a public vote on the rights of minority groups, there is no doubt that these results are very positive towards the LGBTI community and they made it clear that it was time for the Federal Parliament to act. On Thursday the 7th December, after many hours of debate in the Senate and the House of Representatives, parliament acted on the will of the public.
The final vote in parliament saw only four members oppose the bill, and on its passing there were scenes of jubilation both on the floor of parliament and in the galleries.
Same sex couples will finally have the freedom to marry in January, and I’m sure that marriage celebrants will have a boom year to look forward to in 2018.
I want to thank and congratulate those in the community who have selflessly campaigned so hard to achieve equality for all.
This is a great result.