Mr Deputy Speaker

This is the last occasion on which I intend to rise during the course of this week’s long debate. Before I sit down, I did want to say a few other things. Firstly, I want to sincerely thank all my parliamentary colleagues on both sides of the chamber for what I think has been an outstanding debate. But I also wanted to acknowledge those in this corner who have worked so hard on this issue for such a long time. Of course, I refer to the member for Brisbane, Trevor Evans, and the member for Goldstein—Tim Wilson-Bolger!—and the member for Leichhardt, who is temporarily absent, so I’ll say while he’s absent that earlier today we had a photo of all the LGBTI members of the parliament, and everyone said, ‘Where’s Warren?’ We had to remind ourselves that he’s not actually gay! But I think we can make him an honorary gay. His leadership has been outstanding. I also want to again thank, in front of this gallery, those in the Equality Campaign, led so ably by Alex Greenwich, Tom Snow, Janine Middleton—who I saw up there before looking very Mosman!—Tiernan Brady and of course the incredible Anna Brown and that whole team that did so much.

Two years ago this week the voters of North Sydney sent to this chamber the first openly gay member of the House of Representatives. At the time, I was the first openly gay member—though I suspect that I probably wasn’t the first gay in the village over the parliament’s 116 years! But, nonetheless, I raise that because, in the lead-up to that election, many people wondered whether the community, in a lower house election, would embrace an openly gay candidate. And, of course, they did, because, as they should have, they judged me on my merits.

Two years later, people wondered whether Australians would embrace the relationships of their fellow gay and lesbian sisters and brothers, and, of course, we know they did, so resoundingly. What they said was that they understood that a same-sex relationship was no less committed, no less loving, no less difficult, no less beautiful and wonderful than any other relationship. Today we fulfil the wishes of the Australian people, and, in so doing, we leave this parliament making Australia, I think, a far better place.

During the course of campaigns there are often slogans—often some great slogans. Who will forget ‘Jobs and growth’, which was a great slogan! But I want to conclude by saying that there are three words this year that have touched the hearts and minds of all Australians: ‘Love is love’. And, as we celebrate the Christmas spirit, I’m sure that’s something that we can all agree on.