At about 8.30pm on December 4, the last sitting day of 2008, the final vote for the third reading was called for the Assisted Reproductive Treatment Bill (2008). Packed into the Legislative Council’s public viewing balcony upstairs and in the stalls below were over 50 members of rainbow families, including grandparents, supporters and friends. Babies were squawking and small children giggled and whined on their parent’s laps – it was long past bedtime.
The final speaker concluded their points. The motion was put. We held our collective breath. We knew it would be really, really close. There are only 40 members of the Upper House usually but there was one ALP member absent and another Liberal member as well. A vote of 19:19 would mean that the bill would be defeated.
The votes were 20 in favour and 18 against – we had won!
Cheers broke out and we pretty much all rose as one and raced out into Queen’s Hall to cry and cheer and gasp in disbelief. We had actually won.
The experience of being in parliament to see democracy in action was amazing. Here one of the mum’s who stayed to see the final vote writes about the experience on the rainbow families e-group the day after:
Experiencing the vote last night in the upper house of parliament was one of the most amazing and exhilarating experiences I have had. Seeing (Attorney General) Rob Hulls high fiving and hugging MP’s, women, children and staff in the corridors of parliament was priceless. Listening to Rob Hulls making his final remarks before the final vote where he talked about how love makes a family not biology was breathtaking. What an amazing experience we have all had together, one that will never be forgotten. There were many priceless moments which we must document for future families… some include:
- 50 parents and children having pizza on the top steps of parliament during the debate last night;
- Turning what was a very conservative space (parliament house) into a child care centre, playgroup and making it like our own lounge room for a few days and pollies stopping to say that we had brought life back into parliament;
- Robert Smith’s speech;
- Brian Atkinson’s speech;
- Meeting many amazing and wonderful women, men and children.
Read Felicity Marlowe’s Love Makes a Family report to the Rainbow Families Council Annual General Meeting from November 2008.
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