I rise to congratulate Ireland after the Irish people voted in favour of marriage equality over the weekend. The result was clear: 62 per cent of people voted in favour of amending the country's constitution—an extraordinary result. So it was very disappointing to hear the Prime Minister immediately rule out marriage equality in Australia.
It is time the Prime Minister woke up and listened to what the Australian people want. It is time the Prime Minister put his own beliefs out of the way and gave his MPs and senators a conscience vote on this issue so that the national parliament can decide. This is an issue that the majority of Australians support, and the parliament should reflect that.
In my own eyes, before the law of this Commonwealth all women and men should be equal, no matter their colour, creed or sexual orientation. People have the right to choose the individual they love, and if they choose to marry the state should not stand in their way. That is why I voted to support same-sex marriage in the past, and that is why I will continue to support it in the future. It is time for the coalition party room to give this serious issue the time and respect it deserves. It is time the Prime Minister allowed a conscience vote for his MPs and senators on marriage equality.