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Australia, we are going to make marriage equality a reality in minutes.
The Australia of tomorrow begins with what we do today.
At long last, LGBTIQ Australians will be equal under the law.
Our law will speak for a modern Australia, inclusive and fair.
And those of us in parliament privileged to serve, we understand that we do this with humility.
The humility to recognise that the passage of this law does not in essence belong to us. The credit for the passage of this law belongs to all Australians.
I say to those who voted ‘No’, I recognise that now is the time for healing, to put this debate behind us.
And when this law is passed, we should declare that we are no longer a nation of people who voted ‘No’ or people who voted ‘Yes’ - we are simply Australians, one and all.
And I say to LGBTIQ Australians in particular, you have given us a gift.
This Parliament, when we pass the marriage equality law, it is not a gift from us to LGBTIQ Australians.
Equality is never a gift to be given. Equality is the inalienable birthright of every Australian and this equality is long overdue.
And I say the gift that LGBTIQ Australians have given all of us is that when we are a nation who includes all of our people, who values all relationships and all families, then we are a better nation altogether.
So, as it is written: ‘there is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens’.
It is now a time to heal, a time to build, a time to laugh, a time to embrace, a time to love. And now, at last, a time for marriage equality.