Thursday, 7 December 2017

Finally we vote for marriage equality

On 17 April 2013 New Zealand's Parliament voted to allow people of the same sex to marry. When the law was passed people in the public gallery stood up and spontaneously sang a waiata, a traditional Maori song of celebration, 'Pokarekare Ana', which is said to date from the time of WWI. It is a love song. Today, in Parliament, as soon as the clerk proclaimed the new law passed, people in the public gallery stood up and sang the chorus from 'I Am Australian', a song of The Seekers:

We are one, but we are many
And from all the lands on earth we come
We'll share a dream and sing with one voice
"I am, you are, we are Australian"

The words reflect what the prime minister had said just before the law was passed in the day's final division (which saw a mere four members voting 'No'). But the selection of this song is certainly striking because the places that responded strongly 'No' in the postal survey that led up to today's vote were places where the concentration of new migrants is the highest, notably in western Sydney, as I outlined in a blogpost last month.

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