15 November 2017, Prince Alfred Park, 2017
And today I want to say how fantastic it is, with so many friends, so many activists, so many who joined the cause recently, and importantly, so many who have been fighting for equality for decades.
And I want to send a special shout out to the 78ers, because really it all started, not so far from here, a long time ago, with people who were prepared to fight for equality, when no one in the Australian community backed them.
People who were prepared to be arrested, to lose their jobs, to come out to family that were unsupportive, who started that fight decades ago for equality that we are reaping the rewards of today.
Today is about all of you, and it’s about everybody who’s stepped up. Who stepped up to ask a question that no Australian should have to ask - am I equal?
It’s to all the supporters, the brothers, sisters, mothers, fathers, grandparents, allies, who stood beside you, who doorknocked, who phoned, who wrote to their neighbours to ask a question that no Australian should have to ask - is my brother/sister/mum/dad/grandchild/friend/colleague equal in your eyes?
We should not have had to ask that question.
But we did ... and guess what the answer is a resounding yes.
And I hope, if there is one thing that never changes from today, is the feeling that you have in your hearts, that when we asked the question, ‘is all love equal’, Australia said yes.
And particularly, I’m particularly talking now to the young people in the crowd. Because many people have struggled for many decades for equality, but during these last few months, there have been a lot of young people who have come out for the first time, who have told their friends or their family that they are same sex attracted, and they’ve got a less than positive response in some cases.
I want every single on of those young people to feel today the love and acceptance of the Australian community, and I hope that feeling lasts a lifetime because it should.
Today is for them, it’s for the young people, who have struggled recently. Who have told me recently about how they feel about their parents turning their backs or voting against them - it’s for them.
It’s for John and Arthur, who have been together for 50 years, who live in Elizabeth Bay, who can’t wait to show the world, their love.
It’s for people who have stood up in big workplaces, the firefighters, the nurses, the trade unionists across Australia, who’ve stood up and come out colleagues. None of their business, but they’ve come out to say ‘please support my right to be treated just like you’. And guess what, Australia said yes.
But again, today is for the 78ers, because without them, this journey would never have started. We wouldn’t have taken this last fantastic step.
The only thing now to do, is to say to the Senators who are sitting this week in Canberra, when this consensus bill is introduced, back it, vote for it, don’t delay it. Don’t argue about the details, back it. Because if the Senators back this bill, we can have marriage equality by Christmas. The House of Reps can vote, when we return to Canberra, and we can have marriage equality by Christmas.