I am proud – as is each one of us here – to be a citizen of this great and lucky country.
I am the product of families with mothers and fathers. From 1829 here on the Swan on one side of the family and 1840 on the other side.
I am proud of our traditional values of families with mothers and fathers.
I stand in this tradition with our Aboriginal brothers and sisters – their families go back a long way before mine.
I believe – as did my parents and those before them – in freedom of speech.
I believe in a freedom to believe and to speak of that which I believe.
Every child deserves the opportunity of a father and a mother.
Refugee children deserve this opportunity.
Our own stolen generation children deserve this opportunity.
And I believe we have the right to continue to proclaim this right for our children’s children.
This is our culture, our heritage. Let us not deliberately legislate something which is going to result in children missing either a mother or a father.
I believe in that great Aussie tradition of mateship and of equal opportunity.
I could not have been a doctor without that equality of opportunity.
But I still had to meet the qualifying criteria.
As a doctor I believe in compassion but compassion is not enough – I still had to meet the qualifying criteria.
From time to time in moments of madness I might aspire to be a lawyer. But I cannot practise as a lawyer unless I meet the qualifications required. Equality is subject to meeting the qualifying criteria. Extending compassion to me cannot make me a lawyer.
And compassion cannot make marriage something which it is not.
The criteria are simple – we have to be of a certain age and we have to be male and female. The biology of sexual reproduction is clear – even doctors know that.
Whatever arrangements people of the same sex might arrange with each other regarding sexual lifestyle and commitment, we cannot call it marriage. Even if we did call it marriage it is still not marriage. Marriage is male and female in sexual union with the intent of commitment to each other in that union.
But there’s more. Marriage has the untold benefit of providing the opportunity for children with mothers and fathers. Sometimes this doesn’t work, but – in the words of Katy Faust the daughter of Lesbian parents – that does not mean we should normalise a family structure that requires children to lose either a biological mother or father.
Where possible, children do best in a healthy family with their own biological mothers and fathers. Intuitively we know this to be true, and we are now hearing from those who have been deliberately brought up without this privilege.
We should not need to defend marriage. And we should not be attacked for simply stating that which we believe to be true in all societies in all of history.
The sums add up, the facts are simple and clear. Marriage is intrinsic. Logic may be set aside but we cannot re-define that which cannot be re-defined.
We are here today to proclaim that which we believe to be right and we believe in the liberty to continue to proclaim these truths.