Ms PENNICUIK (Southern Metropolitan) (09:47:09) — Last week the Australian Parliament passed the Marriage Amendment (Definition and Religious Freedoms) Bill 2017. It was wonderful to see the outpouring of joy and exuberance on the floor of the House of Representatives, which voted overwhelmingly in favour of the legislation, with only four people, sadly, calling for a division on the bill.
The bill that passed last week overturned the change to the Marriage Act 1961 that was pushed through by the Howard government in 2004, which specifically defined marriage as between a man and woman — a very regrettable decision. That bill was opposed by only six people in the federal Parliament: three Greens and three Australian Democrats. I would like to pay tribute to everybody who has worked for the past 13 years to overturn that decision of 2004 — the marriage equality groups, the people in the Greens and other parties who have brought about this momentous change, with the legislation that was passed in the federal Parliament last week.
I look forward to a large number of weddings occurring, probably from 9 January and then into perpetuity. Australia has now become the 26th country to introduce marriage equality, and I think it is absolutely fabulous.