The leader of Australia’s far-right nationalist party has lashed out at gay parents and claimed that same-sex marriage could lead to people marrying children.
Earlier this month Australians gave their overwhelming backing to equal marriage in a public vote, by a margin of 61.6% to 38.4%.
As the vote was purely advisory in nature, legislation on the issue is up to Parliament – where lawmakers are still divided on the best way to proceed on the issue.
Pauline Hanson, the leader of the far-right One Nation Party, spoke out in the Senate today to claim the vote could have consequences.
She said: “What I want to put on record is my concerns and those of many Australians.
“My concern is that, in time to come, the parliament and its members could at any time change this to include multiple marriages or marriages of people under a certain age, and I don’t believe that will be the will of the people.
“If it were a referendum, it would be enshrined in the Constitution and could not be changed by parliament but only by the people.
“We see the ever-changing face of our society, where we know that there are multiple marriages in our communities, and yet it is not being addressed.”
The politician then made a shocking attack on rainbow families.
She claimed: “Another part that I think people haven’t thought about is the children. I’m going to have my say now, because I need to look at what impact it is going to have on our society.
“About 11 per cent of gay couples now have children. Whether they’re from in-vitro fertilisation or former heterosexual marriages, the fact is there are children, and there will be an increasing number of children in these relationships.”
She added: “What will we do, as a society, when we get to the stage that these kids are starting to go to school?
“What will happen when you go to school, the teacher says, ‘I want you to draw a picture of your mum and dad or grandma and grandad and your house’ and all the rest of it?
“The kids will be saying, ‘What do I do? I don’t have a mum,’ or ‘I don’t have a dad.’ ‘It’s Peter and Sam,’ or ‘It’s Elizabeth and Amanda.’
“They’re not known as mum and dad. Are we then going to say, ‘Oh well, we can’t discriminate against these children, so we must call their parents by their real name?’.
“Is this the impact it is going to have on our educational system and in our school rooms? What about grandma and grandad?
“It’s all right for this generation but what about the next generation? No longer will you be able to call them grandma or grandad. These kids won’t have them.”
Deviating from same-sex marriage, Hanson claimed that sexual orientation was being “pushed” on kid in schools.
She said:”It is teaching kids about their body parts and everything. They are kids. Let them be children. I have no problem with teaching sexual education, but do it when they are reaching puberty at around 14 or 15.
“Don’t start messing around with the minds of young children in our educational system by pushing your own agenda. I think it’s disgraceful.
“As long as I’m a senator for Queensland I will fight against this happening in our educational system in Queensland, because I believe that people are pushing their own agenda.”
Hanson claimed to have “no problem” with same-sex marriage, while simultaneously suggesting she would prefer for the legislation to be thrown out in favour of civil unions.
She said: “If it were to be called a civil ceremony, Australians would not worry about that… I can tell you that not all these gay couples want to get married.
“We are actually now saying that a large majority of Australians are going to have to be tolerant and go against their beliefs and that our society may change because you pushed for equality in this area.
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“That’s all I heard—’love and equality’ for people that I believe have a right to be happy and to live their own lives, but it’s going to have an impact on the rest of society, and I think we have failed to look at that. We have failed by putting the cart before the horse.”
She went on to claim that Parliament “is being dictated to by the minority” because the proposed law will not include ‘freedom to discriminate’ exemptions demanded by conservatives.
Hanson continued: “What I find disgraceful about this whole thing is we have people in this country living on the streets, kids on ice and the problem of not enough jobs — and we’re having a debate about the issue of a couple of people being able to get married.
“There are more important things in this country than worrying about and pushing for this. It’s disgraceful.”
She is not the only conservative to give an anti-LGBT speech in the Senate this week.
The former leader of the government in the Senate, Eric Abetz, branded his colleagues “dead fish” in a shocking rant as he spoke out against the change.
Abetz went on to claim that voters were misled because “the legislation before us is not restricted to same-sex couples”, allowing two people to marry without distinction as to sex.
He said: “The bill therefore goes further than that which was approved by the Australian people and adopts the ideology of gender fluidity, which is part of the much discredited and rightly reviled and Orwellianly misnamed Safe Schools program.
“If gender fluidity had been part of the campaign, the result may well have been different. If this was always intended then the question should have been explicit. Australians deserve an explanation as to why it wasn’t.”