The same-sex marriage bill passed in the Parliament without any amendments for protections for freedoms and parental rights yesterday evening.
During the postal survey, we were repeated told by "Yes" campaigners that the survey was only about one question and one question only -- whether people thought gay couples should marry. They repeatedly claimed that this question had nothing to do with religious freedom and parental rights, and that the Parliament would deal with these issues when it came time to pass legislation.
Over the last two weeks, the parliament completely failed to address these important issues - potentially compromising the core values underlying our democratic society.
The hard work that a group of MPs put into making very reasonable amendments was ignored, and the amendments were barely debated.
显然，政府一心只想立即通过立法，如果众议院通过任何修订，这项法案将重回参议院，这种延迟是他们不想看到的。所以所有的修正案都被否决了，持守传统婚姻观的500万人的自由和权利就这样被我们的政治家们抛弃了。It was clear that the Government had a single-minded drive to get the legislation passed without delay, because any amendments, if passed, would send the bill back to the Senate and cause unwanted delays. So instead, all amendments were knocked down, and the freedoms and rights of 5 million people with deeply held personal beliefs in traditional marriage were thrown out by our politicians.
The amendments that were voted down give us a glimpse of what's in store for us down the track:
1. The anti-detriment clause to protect people with deeply held beliefs in traditional marriage from being treated unfavourably by public authorities was voted down.
2. The civil celebrant's right to refuse to conduct same sex weddings was voted down.
3. The freedom for religious schools to teach and conduct business according to their religious beliefs on marriage was voted down.
4. Protections for charities from being defunded because of their view on traditional marriage was voted down.
5. The protection of parental rights to withdraw children from "Safe Schools" type of education was voted down.
We may not see an overturning of these freedoms overnight, but overseas experience tell us that our rights, and our freedom of conscience, speech and religion may be eroded on a case-by-case basis, as people with traditional views on marriage are targeted by anti-discrimination law.
Friends, what happened today was the result of too many Australians staying silent for too long. The passing of this bill should be a wake up call for our whole nation, that we must continue to speak up, even though there may be a personal cost.
If we don't speak up, we will be shunted aside and we will have to keep our views private and away from the public square for ever.
But if enough of us speak up, and stand our ground as these battles to target people with traditional family values continue, we can continue to make changes. Our political system still allows us to have representation through the government, and it still allows us to express our viewpoints.
We must speak up in our local schools, in our ethnic communities, we can continue to lobby our local members of parliament, the prime minister and the opposition leader, and let them know they must protect religious freedom and parental rights in Australia. Because 5 million people is a sizeable percentage of Australia, and we should not just be written off like this.
Australian Chinese for Families will continue to be a platform for our community to stand together and a voice for family values. We will continue to give you updates on how we can engage in the political process and express our viewpoints on issues that affect our society and our next generation.
We will also be providing details on the Ruddock review on religious freedom that is due to report to the Parliament next March.
Thankyou for your continued support.
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