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Adjournment Speech - ACT Marriage Equality

I am very proud and honoured to be able to rise this evening to acknowledge the marriage of my close friends the Hon. Stephen Dawson MLC and his husband, Dennis Liddelow. They are Western Australians, but they were very proud to come and be the very first couple married under the new ACT laws. Theirs was one of some 20 marriages that took place over the weekend. It took place right here in Canberra, outside Parliament House, at one minute past midnight on Saturday. It was particularly pleasing for me to be there as an official witness at their wedding, because I was unable to travel to their civil union in Ireland more than a year ago because it was a parliamentary sitting week. It is a good indication of what Australian couples and their families and friends miss out on when they cannot get married on Australian soil or in their home state. It was an absolute thrill for me to be able to be their official witness. Their marriage not only marks the significant love shared between Dennis and Stephen but it also marks the fact that marriage equality in our nation is possible. It is possible if we, as law-makers in this great country, have the moral belief that all people in this land of ours are equal. Continue reading

Clean Energy Finance Corporation (Abolition) Bill 2013

I begin my contribution to the second reading debate on the Clean Energy Finance Corporation (Abolition) Bill 2013 by acknowledging the discussion that we had yesterday in this place when we separated the package of bills out to be debated separately. The Leader of the Government in the Senate, Senator Abetz, said he had a mandate for this package of legislation. Well, I can tell you there is no mandate. We can repeal the carbon tax without abandoning the important principles of a holistic framework to manage carbon emissions in this country. We can have an ETS that commits us to binding targets and lets business work out the most efficient ways of cutting emissions. We can do this without abandoning the Clean Energy Finance Corporation, which is in fact the most efficient form of direct action that I have seen. We can also keep transparency, independent advice and good governance by retaining the Climate Change Authority. Continue reading