Reverend the Hon. FRED NILE ( 16:03 :47 ): I draw the attention of the House to a survey recently conducted by Marriage Alliance dealing with same-sex marriage. The alliance, which I support, is a coalition of 40 or 50 church-related organisations and other family focused groups. The alliance commissioned a poll of 2,500 people, which was conducted by Sexton Market Research in December. The survey delivered some interesting results. Participants were asked whether they strongly supported legalising same-sex marriage. The survey revealed that only 33 per cent of Australians agree with that proposition, 25 per cent were undecided, 20 per cent strongly opposed it, and 3 per cent somewhat opposed it. By digging deeper in focus groups, the researchers found that support declined significantly, especially among “soft” supporters, when same-sex marriage was linked to consequences such as sex education and gender politics, with 81 per cent afraid of losing terms like “mum” and “dad”, and 75 per cent worried about unisex toilets. In addition, 81 per cent of participants were concerned about the gender of newborns being removed from birth certificates and about words in the English language such as “mum” and “dad” being replaced by “parent one” and “parent two”. Further, 69 per cent were concerned that children were being taught in school that gender is flexible and that they can choose whether they are male or female.

When asked about their attitude to restrictions on freedom of speech in the workplace, 67 per cent of participants with strong beliefs that marriage should be between a man and a woman were concerned. Breaking the figures down further, most soft supporters of same-sex marriage said they were also concerned about the loss of freedom of speech. In response to being asked whether participants agreed that parents should have a right to know exactly what is taught in sex education classes and to say yes or no to any content beyond their family beliefs, 66 per cent of those who somewhat support same-sex marriage said that they agreed compared with 49 per cent of strong supporters. Of those who are undecided about same-sex marriage, 65 per cent agreed with the statement compared to 84 per cent of those who strongly opposed same-sex marriage. On the question of replacing male and female public toilets and school toilets with unisex toilets, 80 per cent of soft supporters of same-sex marriage were concerned about the idea, as were 60 per cent of strong supporters.

Based on the poll data, Marriage Alliance believes that over time support for same-sex marriage has eroded. The same-sex marriage lobby claims that 75 per cent of people in Australia support same-sex marriage, but that is not supported by this latest survey. Marriage Alliance states that the controversy around Safe Schools programs has helped its campaign as a result of revelations of harassment of Christians by the militant arm of the same-sex marriage lobby. Safe Schools, formerly known as Proud Schools, is a sexual indoctrination program designed by university gender study academics disguised as an anti-bullying program. However, the founder of the program, Roz Ward, says that it had nothing to do with bullying. Interestingly, the survey found that key ethnic communities are overwhelmingly against same-sex marriage, including 75 per cent of the Muslim community and 65 per cent of the Hindu community.

Support plummeted for same-sex marriage when it was linked to a social change agenda, including safe schools and when freedom of speech and religion are threatened. The irony, therefore, is that the people in favour of same‑sex marriage, I believe, are aware of these figures, and that is why they have done all they can to prevent the plebiscite proceeding, because they believe that they would lose.


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