"Ladies and gentleman, boys and girls. Firstly, I recognise the local land on which we meet, and thank the traditional owners for all their hard work on local issues. Your welcome this evening has been a touching and moving one."
"I am so glad to be here tonight, on what I know has been a big day for those of you gathered here. You have fought long and hard to right the many injustices that do exist, and on behalf of those who often can’t fight for themselves, I say thank you."
"I stand before you today as Prime Minister of this great nation, a nation that has for so many years built a reputation for being tolerant, inclusive, and above all else, fair."
"For decades, whenever we have come across discrimination, we have done our best to stare it down. To fight it. To right the wrongs that unfortunately, infiltrate our society."
"In the pursuit of a fairer go for all, we seek to right those wrongs. Sometimes, this occurs quickly. Other times, the progress has been a little slower."
"I’ve previously stated that our Party, this Australian Labor Party, has a vision. It is a vision premised on opportunity and care."
"Opportunity for all who seek it, and care for all who need it. I’d like to think however, that as a Party, and further, as a nation, there is a third premise that fits neatly with those other two:
"For years, decades, centuries even, people have faced discrimination based on race, colour, religion, gender, or sexual orientation. Slowly, many of those forms of discrimination have been removed. Over the years, it has been Labor that has introduced legislation to remove many of those imbalances.
"In 1973, it was a series of amendments by the Whitlam Labor government, that essentially brought an end to the White Australia policy. These amendments prevented the enforcement of racial aspects of the immigration law. Amongst other things, these amendments legislated that all migrants, regardless of origin, would be eligible to obtain citizenship after three years of permanent residence. The amendments also ratified all international agreements relating to immigration and race."
"In 1975, the Commonwealth parliament, again during the Prime Ministership of Gough Whitlam, passed the Racial Discrimination Act. This landmark legislation made it against the law to discriminate based on race, in areas such as employment, housing, even the provision of goods and services."
"In 1984, the Hawke Government passed the Sex Discrimination Act, which gave effect to Australia’s international obligations towards eliminating all forms of discrimination against women. It promoted equality between men and women, and sought to eliminate discrimination in a range of areas, including on the basis of sex, marital status or pregnancy."
"We look back on such milestones, and like many social justice reforms, today, we consider them to be the norm. As they rightly should be."
"One type of discrimination, however, continues. And it is one that I know is very dear to those of you here today. It has been a topic of conversation across the country, indeed, the world."
"It has been a conversation that I have had with many people. Some of these people have been friends, others colleagues. Others have been Australians I have met on my travels as Prime Minister. But one thing is for certain, they - we - are all Australians."
"In 2008 and 2009, it was under a federal Labor government that legislation was passed specifying that same-sex couples would have the same legal rights as de facto relationships between a man and a woman. Because de facto couples now enjoy many of the same legal rights as married couples, this has allowed same-sex couples to be entitled to the same treatment when it comes to health care, child support, workers compensation, veterans’ entitlements and social security."
"Since July 2008, both heterosexual and same-sex couples are treated in the same way in terms of superannuation when a member of that couple passes away."
"I have previously stated that marriage should only be between a man and a woman, on the grounds that Australia’s laws are based on Christian principles. For many people, ‘marriage’ is a concept that has some strong tradition and religious belief behind it. But the more I’ve thought about it, I’ve pondered: should not one of the most basic, the most fundamental of Christian principles, be that of fairness?"
"My views on marriage equality have been well publicised. But with time, those views have softened. They have progressed, just like we, as a society - as a nation - have progressed."
"As I’ve travelled across this country, from Darlinghurst to Dulwich, from St Kilda to Subiaco, people have shared their thoughts with me. Some have been personal, but all have been heartfelt, sincere and honest."
"With time, I have grown to understand how important it is to people that are directly impacted, but also those indirectly impacted."
"Most of us will have a colleague, a friend, a neighbor, or a family member who, despite being devoted to their loving partner, is currently unable to commit to that partner for the rest of their lives in the way a man and a woman can. I know that in my life, I have friends, colleagues, that are in same-sex relationships and who are lovingly raising adorable children.”
"The time has surely come for all people to be treated equally, and that we treat others the way that we in turn wish to be treated. As a society, we should always be moving in a direction where more people - not less - are being treated fairly and equally."
"As a leader of this Party, a Party that has always stood for the fair go, for progressing society, for moving it forward, it is time that we did all we can to bring this form of discrimination to an end."
"I’ve come to learn that this is something that is important to many Australians. It is something which extends well beyond the views of one particular person."
"It is a choice that should be left to the individual couple - not to government."
"People wishing to declare their love for each other and commit to spending the rest of their lives together through marriage, should have the choice to do so. This doesn’t weaken the fundamental tenets associated with marriage - rather, it strengthens them, and with it, bolsters the broader concept of ‘family’."
"And that, ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls, is why we, this government, will go to the election in September seeking a mandate to amend the Marriage Act so as to also recognise a marriage between a same sex couple.”
"In this current parliament, it was the Labor Party that was the only major party to allow a conscience vote on this matter. While that was a step in the right direction, we need to do better. We can do better. In Labor, we stand for fairness and equality. As a result, in the next parliament, we intend to take that one step further."
"For too long, I have listened to Australians say that the two major parties are the same. That we’ve become so similar that it matters little who they vote for. To these people, I say this: “look a little bit closer”."
"I urge those people to consider the policies of the two major parties, whether it be in relation to education reform, disability services, climate change, a National Broadband Network, or now, marriage equality.”
"There is plenty that we do not agree on. In some of these areas, the difference could not be more stark."
"On education, only Labor is truly committed to increasing education funding, to give Australia’s children of today and tomorrow, the best opportunities to be ready for the challenges of the future. Further, only a Labor government is committed to equipping our children as best as possible for those challenges, arming them with a world-leading broadband network, one that will serve us well for decades to come."
"On disability services, it has been a Labor government, this Labor government, that has had the foresight and policy to tackle the recommendations of the Productivity Commission, and turn it into DisabilityCare Australia."
"This is no longer just talk….. this is not spin: this is happening, and it is happening right now. Trial sites are rolling out in a matter of months, and commitments have already been made with the South Australian, NSW, Tasmanian, ACT and VIctorian governments to roll out DisabilityCare Australia, in full in those jurisdictions. Ladies and gentleman, the difference this will make to Australians with a disability, as well as their families and carers, cannot be understated.”
"The differences continue, though. Only a Labor government is committed to truly tackling climate change, in the best and most efficient way possible. Despite the unfulfilled hysteria from those that oppose it, we now have in a place a carbon price that, as it rightly should, charges those who pollute the most."
"This in turn provides an incentive for polluters to emit less, and further, to consider and invest in greener, leaner production. It is rarely reported, but since the commencement of a price on carbon, brought about by this Labor Government’s Clean Energy Future package, emissions in Australia have already begun to fall."
"And now, on marriage equality, we will be seeking a mandate from the Australian people to take our conscience vote one step further, and to make marriage equality part of government policy."
"This is about fairness for all. Much like the big social reforms that have come before it, whether it be the anti-discrimination legislation of the 70s and 80s, Native Title in the 90s, or the formal apology to the Stolen Generations in the last decade, it has often been Labor moving us forward."
"Same-sex marriage goes to fundamental values of family and society. It represents tolerance, inclusion and optimism. And above all, it represents fairness."
"And to quote the words of one former Labor Prime Minister, ‘it’s time’."