Madam Chairman, I support this motion. I support this motion as the Councillor

for Central Ward. I support this motion as a mother and an aunt. I support this

motion as a friend. I support this motion as a neighbour. I support this motion,

because to me, what the world needs is love. Madam Chairman, as many of you

here today will be well aware, it is very, very easy for me to stand here today and

support this motion. However, I understand this decision is not so easy for

others. I acknowledge that today. This decision may not sit comfortably with you

for whatever reasons it may be.


Whatever way each of you votes today, I know you will vote according to your

conscience. Although I may not agree with your decision, I respect your right to

hold a different opinion to me. Madam Chairman, when preparing for today’s

historic vote, I came across images from the Pride March 2015. On that beautiful

Brisbane day, it was truly wonderful to see thousands of Brisbane residents turn

up to march through my ward to celebrate. When I look at the photos of that day,

when I look at the joy on the faces of everyone who took part, I know that

Brisbane is truly Australia’s New World City.


A friendly and inclusive city. A city I am proud to call home and a city I am

proud to represent. Madam Chairman, when I look at the photos from last year

and as someone who has celebrated Pride Festival over many years, what made

last year stand out was the fact it was led, for the first time, by Brisbane’s

LORD MAYOR. Now, when you look at these images, let’s be honest. You can’t

see that many straight middle age men from suburbia marching. It’s been quite a

journey, I imagine, for not only you, LORD MAYOR, but for this

Administration, this Council and for me.


LORD MAYOR, on behalf of my residents in Central Ward, I say thank you.

Thank you for standing up for those today who wanted to publicly make a

declaration of their love. LORD MAYOR, by allowing today’s vote, you have, in

my opinion, reaffirmed the strong mandate the people of Brisbane gave you in


[4495 (Ordinary) meeting – 17 May 2016]

– 79 –


March this year. You have and continue to lead our city through social and

economic change on levels never experienced. Through the good times and the

bad, LORD MAYOR, the people of Brisbane know they have a leader who is

not afraid of change and not afraid to challenge.


In years to come, LORD MAYOR, you will be known as the father of modern

Brisbane, the man who led Brisbane to become Australia’s New World City.

Madam Chairman, change is never easy and we shouldn’t expect it to be. If it

was, life would be pretty dull. Like the majority of people growing up, I dreamed

of getting married. The dream of the wedding, the dream of the celebration, the

dream of the picture perfect moment that would be remembered for eternity. I’m

sure we all know people who have planned their wedding from childhood, from

the dress to the church to the hair to the bridal dance.


Everyone has the vision of what their special day will be like and who are we to

deny them their moment. Like the wedding, everyone has an opinion on same

sex marriage. It is not for us to say they are right or wrong. Everyone has a right

to choose how they live their life. Madam Chairman, I just now quickly would

like to run through the reasons why I strongly support same sex marriage. For

me, this isn’t about religion. Going to church is about religion. Marriage is a

secular contract presiding over by government.


It is and should always be the right of churches to choose who they will marry,

just like Catholics don’t allow divorced people to remarry, but Anglicans do. It’s

their right and it doesn’t stop people from marriage, and neither should we.

Some argue we have better things to discuss. That the same sex community is

small and this is an issue for the minority. Well, I think that we can multitask.

Was the same said about granting women and indigenous people the right to

vote? Would you say the same thing about the National Disability Insurance

Scheme (NDIS)? I think not. We often hear from those that homosexuality is a



Well, I think all of us here today can say that we didn’t program ourselves to be

who we are. We were born the way we are and nothing will ever change that. I

also can’t see how gay marriage will damage society. Did Ellen’s wedding to

Portia or Elton’s wedding to David have any impact on your life? Of course not.

The sun came up the next day and the world became a better place. These people

were able to publicly declare their love for each other and to commit to helping

each other through sickness and health, the good times and the bad.


As we are all aware, the arguments for and against same sex marriage come from

passionate people from all walks of life on both sides. Like other issues that face

us, it is a deeply personal issue and one where our position has come from much

reflection. It saddens me that this debate has been allowed to become personal

and political, as the harm and distress it causes many in the community is

unacceptable and it must stop. It is up to us as civic leaders to play our part and

to make it stop. We must lead by example and respect the right of others to hold

an opinion that is different to ours.


When people call others names because they are holding different opinions,

when the aspiring Prime Minister calls an opposition candidate a right wing

knuckle dragger, nobody wins. Society suffers. When activists troll attacks

through the murky anonymity of Facebook and Twitter people standing up for

office like Trevor Evans, someone who has been at the forefront of making our

society better and our economy stronger, nobody wins. Society suffers.


When members of the media, supposed champions of this very cause—we are

discussing, publish articles that do nothing but seek to divide and cause

contention for the sake of a headline, nobody wins and society suffers.


Madam Chairman, the things we say, the things we do matter. We have been

elected to hold office and been given the trust of the people to lead, to make our

city a better place. If we allow debate to become personal, if we allow it to

become fuelled by hate because of differing opinions, we are not leading. We are



[4495 (Ordinary) meeting – 17 May 2016]

– 80 –


Madam Chairman, as I wrap up, I can’t help but think of the opening words of a

movie I’m sure all of us have seen time and time again, Love Actually. So with a

Brisbane twist, let me conclude by saying, whenever I feel gloomy with the state

of the world I think about the beautiful sun-kissed days in New Farm Park,

listening to the news sometimes, you start to make out that we’re living in a

world of hatred and greed. But when I look around New Farm Park, I don’t see

that. It seems to me that love is everywhere. Often it’s not particularly dignified

or newsworthy, but it’s always there.


Fathers and sons, mothers and daughters, husbands and wives, boyfriends,

girlfriends, old friends. When people are directly faced with tragedy, as far as I

know, they don’t send messages of hate or revenge. They are all messages of

love. If you look for it, I’ve got a sneaky feeling you’ll find that love actually is

all around. Madam Chairman, love is all around, especially in my wonderful

ward. I commend this Chamber for allowing this important issue to be discussed



To Steven and Mitchell, Trudi and Sophia, Kate and Cath, Luke and Brent, I’m

proud to stand up here today and strongly support this motion. Let love rule.

Deputy Chairman: Further debate?