Yesterday Senator Concetta Fierravanti-Wells addressed the National Press Club on conservatism in contemporary Australian society.
According to the Senator, she, and her views, represent the silent majority of Australians who she seems to believe are made up of elderly God-fearing people, many of whom can’t speak English.
“My views are those of the silent majority … I reflect contemporary Australia today.”
Ms Fierravanti-Wells informed us that the most important things to Australians are family, religion, family values and tradition.
She quoted census figures to show how many people came from non-English speaking backgrounds saying their conservative views must be considered in policy making.
But what the Senator chose to ignore is that 22% of all Australians stated they had no religion at the 2011 census – an increase of 6.8% over the previous decade. In 2011, almost a third of people aged 20 years and over with a postgraduate degree reported no religion (31%). Tasmania and the Australian Capital Territory had the highest rates of people reporting no religion (both 29%), just ahead of South Australia (28%). New South Wales, the Senator’s home state, had by far the lowest rate (18%).
Predictably, Fierravanti-Wells is fervently against same-sex marriage and insists that she is representing the mainstream view in her strident opposition. She dismisses the polls showing overwhelming majority support for marriage equality because all those elderly non-English speaking constituents of hers don’t take part in the polls.
Speaking in Parliament in 2012 she said “This is not about equality; it is about the tearing down of our social fabric.”
“I reject the assertion that those who argue for the retention of the definition of marriage are somehow homophobic, bigoted or are opposing equal rights. It is about maintaining a tradition—a tradition that has been the bedrock of our communities, our society and the world as we know it.
The silent majority in this country does not support this change. Indeed, there are many people who are in gay relationships who themselves do not support gay marriage. Their views have also been drowned out by the vocal gay marriage minority.
Marriage is not only a civil union but has also always been traditionally a religious ceremony; whether in the Christian, Jewish, Islamic, Hindu or any other faith. It is a religious act that glorifies the significant union between a man and a woman. An important part of the marriage journey is the public vows that a man and a woman make to each other before their God which commits them to each other for the rest of their natural lives.
I doubt that most people who are pushing these amendments are overly religious or even intend on staying in a monogamous relationship, which begs the question: why do they want to get ‘married’? The chattering classes do not want to concede that, by amending the Marriage Act, they are in fact denying the rights of the silent majority who want to uphold the sanctity and true meaning of marriage and who want to keep some tradition going in a world that seems to be forever throwing out the old and bringing in the new.”
Connie, Connie, Connie – where to begin?
One in three marriages end in divorce with an average length of 10.7 years, not even long enough to raise the kids, so I don’t think we can attribute the stability of our society to marriage.
You quoted a Chinese proverb to defend your insistence that marriage must be between a man and a woman:
‘When there is love in a marriage, there is harmony in the home; when there is harmony in the home, there is contentment in the community; when there is contentment in the community, there is prosperity in the nation; when there is prosperity in the nation, there is peace in the world.’
You purport to defend diversity and promote inclusion yet you want to deny this love, harmony, contentment, prosperity and peace to the LGBTI community.
Public support to legalise same-sex marriage is continuing to rise, with latest polling showing that 68 per cent of voters support gay marriage with 25 per cent opposed.
The poll found that 57 per cent of Coalition voters support gay marriage compared with 74 per cent of Labor voters and 90 per cent of Greens voters.
Connie says her own research in marginal seats indicates that ethnic and religious communities will turn on the government if a conscience vote is allowed.
The poll finds 71 per cent of voters born in Australia support gay marriage while support is 60 per cent among those born overseas.
Women (74 per cent) are more supportive than men (63 per cent) while support also fades with age.
Could I suggest that, far from representing the majority, the Senator is trying to impose her minority view on the electorate. Perhaps if she expanded her circle beyond elderly male migrants she meets at church in marginal seats she may understand that the “chattering classes” include most of her constituents.
Also, it is factually incorrect to say that marriage has “always been traditionally a religious ceremony.”
With few local exceptions, until 1545, Christian marriages in Europe were by mutual consent, declaration of intention to marry and upon the subsequent physical union of the parties. The couple would promise verbally to each other that they would be married to each other; the presence of a priest or witnesses was not required.
As part of the Protestant Reformation, the role of recording marriages and setting the rules for marriage passed to the state, reflecting Martin Luther’s view that marriage was a “worldly thing”.
In England, under the Anglican Church, marriage by consent and cohabitation was valid until the passage of Lord Hardwicke’s Act in 1753. This act instituted certain requirements for marriage, including the performance of a religious ceremony observed by witnesses.
In England and Wales, since 1837, civil marriages have been recognized as a legal alternative to church marriages under the Marriage Act 1836. In Germany, civil marriages were recognized in 1875.
Senator Fierravanti-Wells is offended when people label her homophobic. Why ever should they think that when she stereotypes supporters of marriage equality as godless sluts?
During her press club address, our Assistant Minister for Multicultural Affairs also suggested that Muslims have to “own the problem” of terrorism and the radicalisation of our kids and they have to “own the solution”. Your fault, you fix it? Nothing to do with us? Kids unable to get jobs and feeling victimised in their own society are not our concern?
Ms Fierravanti-Wells did a fair bit of trumpet blowing, reminding us that she has been “double-hatted” and “roundly applauded” for her frankness. She said she represents the “base” of the Liberal Party and feels it unfair when described as being from the hard right. She offers herself as proof of how successful a “wog” can be and speaks of the hurt she has endured when people can’t pronounce her name or make mafia jokes about her property in Umbria.
I wonder if she has ever considered the hurt felt by people who are told they are unnatural because of who they love or those who are ‘blamed’ for terrorism as their children are seduced, their homeland destroyed, and their families killed.
You seem very confident that your views are ‘mainstream’ and that you wield significant influence over policy but a word of warning Senator, it seems your party may have other ideas.