'This is our Obi-Wan Kenobi. This is our only chance.'
Rockhampton-based Senator Matt Canavan's speech at the launch of the "no" campaign on the same-sex marriage vote in Sydney on Saturday night.
Thank you ladies and gentlemen for being here tonight and standing true for marriage.
We have had some excellent speeches tonight, from all the speakers, but tonight I just want to stress a simple message, a very simple message.
And that message is: we can win! We can win this.
For me, ladies and gentlemen, this is a bit like the Melbourne Cup. When you turn the bend, the horse that is at the front normally doesn't win. That horse normally doesn't win.
And we may not be at the front at the moment but we are coming down the straight fast on the outside. We are certainly going to give this a crack.
We are in that position, ladies and gentlemen, because for years, for years, the media has not given us a platform to say the things that we have been able to say tonight. The media has ignored all the detail about this important issue but finally this plebiscite and this vote is giving us that opportunity. And we need to take that opportunity now.
I have had more and more people come up to me in the last few weeks and say "I didn't realise that if we change the Marriage Act that we will give a permission slip to governments to force radical sex and gender theories to our children.
"I didn't realise that changes to the Marriage Act would put at risk fundamental freedoms of speech and religion."
But it will, it will.
This referendum is a choice and a decision about those consequences.
We are in this position now, we have a fighting chance, because of the brave actions of those Mums that we saw on the screen just before. They deserve a lot of credit for where we are now.
They have been subject to vicious attacks for just standing up and airing their concerns that they don't want their kids taught radical gender theories in schools. I think that is a pretty reasonable position. It is something I hear all the time, from my wife, from others at our school. They don't want that to happen in their school.
As other speakers have outlined tonight, that is the experience overseas where marriage is redefined.
When we take out male and female from the wedding registry, it won't be too long before the concept of boys and girls goes from the classroom too. That's what will happen.
But what I want to stress tonight is that this is our only chance. There will be no future vote on whether your school has safe schools. There will be no future referendum offered to the Australian people on whether you want to have radical gender theories taught to your kids.
Ladies and gentlemen, this is our only hope. This is our Obi-Wan Kenobi. This is our only chance. We must win this debate.
Because then there are other consequences that will come to a school near you. You can already see that many of those on the yes side want to make it illegal to even express a different view about marriage. That is their agenda.
None of the bills that have been put forward to the Australian Parliament in the past decade, none of them provides protections for parents, for teachers, for anybody but priests and celebrants who may be solemnising a marriage.
None of them provides those protections. There is absolute silence.
Now today, my colleague, Senator Dean Smith, and the head of the yes campaign, Rodney Croome, have come out and said we should put forward the protections, we should put forward what sort of protections we would like to see in a changed Marriage Act.
Well, I am happy to answer their question. Because I can give them a bill, I can give them an Act of Parliament, I can quote from it section by section, line by line, it is called the Marriage Act 1961 and I don't want to see it changed.
That's our bill. We have got a bill. If you're out there listening and you are an Australian wondering what you should vote for in the next few weeks, then you should know that if you tick no you will be getting something specific. You will be getting the Marriage Act 1961 that has stood the test of time, done a pretty good job.
But if you vote yes, it's a bit like Forrest Gump: it's a box of chocolates. You have got no idea, no idea, no idea what you might get. I don't like the nut ones, you might get a nut. You have got no idea what they are offering.
And they don't have any idea. They don't know. They are all divided. There is no consensus in the Australian Parliament about what the change will be if there is a yes vote.
But it's OK, it's OK because they tell us to trust them. Trust them. Put your faith in a politician that is what they are asking us to do.
I find it kind of ironic because we are often accused of basing our conclusions and views on this issue on faith, having a faith-based platform.
But I can tell you, I am a politician, at least for now!
I am a politician and I reckon that if your faith in a politician, that is a much, much bigger leap into the dark than believing in the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit!
Ladies and Gentlemen, if they can't tell you what they want, you must vote no.
If they don't know, you should vote no.
And then be brave over the next few weeks, like Heidi, like Cella, like Dr Pansay Lai, we need to be as brave as them and stand up and tell our friends, our family, our fellow parents at school, that it is ok to vote no.
But if they don't know, you should vote no.
Thank you very much, good luck and God Bless!