Mark Robinson at March for Life 2018

TRANSCRIPT:

I'm very humbled today to again, to be on this stage and have the opportunity to stand against some of the worst abortion legislation in the Western world, that is coming to the Queensland Parliament. I'm privileged to take this letter that represents the Queensland community, that represents all of you here today, and it represents many, many organisations, both secular and organisations of faith, who are very concerned about extreme changes to our legislation that have been, once again, mooted.

Can I say, it is a real pleasure to be here with you because you are the crowd of the resistance. Can I say that again? You are the crowd of the resistance. And in Star Wars manner, we absolutely need the resistance.

And you know there is a human dimension, there is a social dimension, but there is a moral imperative and a moral dimension to this legislation that is coming, because it's evil, it's evil. And I have already a very strong sense of what's going to come, I've seen it before, I don't think there's going to be any, in this new piece of legislation that will likely come forward any surprises about what will be in it. And I give you a very clear, unequivocal statement today, that I will vote against this legislation.

And you might say, "but you haven't even seen it yet". I'm pretty sure I know what's coming down. It will be the same as what the very socialist, culturalist, cultural Marxist left, are trying to do all over this nation, with bringing in social reforms that the majority of the population do not want or need.

We won against the Pyne bills because of the resistance, because people like you and thousands and tens of thousands of others stood and fought against it and resisted bad legislation, that's why we won. And it's a beautiful thing to me, quite ironic, the picture of nine months of travail in this Parliament, and life won over death. Did you get that, nine months, from 2016 into early 2017, the battle raged in this Parliament, in the committees, in the media, in the rallies, back and forward, and after nine months, life won over death.

Very briefly why did that happen? And I am going to try to be very brief here and I know I'm the last speaker and you've been very patient. Why did we win, why did that legislation, the Pyne bills, or I call them the bad Trad Pyne bills, why did they fail to progress? They failed to progress because of the resistance, because of the public outcry, because, as we've heard in that letter, tens of thousands, over 55 or so thousand people, signed petitions. 2,700 or so submissions to the committees that said no to these bills, over 80% of people said no to those bills.

It failed because of that, but can I also acknowledge my own colleagues in the State Parliament, in the last Parliament, because even though we were all given a conscience vote by our party, because technically, abortion is usually a conscience vote, every one of those individual MPs on the LNP side used their conscience vote to say and commit to saying, they would not vote for the bills.

Upon hearing that on the Monday, the debate and the vote was meant to happen on the Wednesday in the Parliament, on March the 1st, on the Monday before, out of our party room, when we all came out and said no-one's going to support this bill, it was not a bloc vote, it was a true conscience vote given, but everyone made their individual decision not to vote for it, when news of that got out, Mr. Pyne lost heart and the legislation was withdrawn.

And I want to also acknowledge some of the cross-benchers and the handful of Labour MPs also that were prepared to take that stand, it sunk the bill. The bills were facing defeat and they were withdrawn, but unfortunately, to save face, the Deputy Premier, Jackie Trad, instead of saying the bills were defeated in effect, she said no, they're just deferred, we'll send them off to the Queensland Law Reform Commission because like in Victoria, we know what we'll already get out of that.

And so we are told that these, there's now, and I'm just quickly doing the parliamentary process, I've been asked to share on very quickly, but that Law Reform Commission has now been receiving submissions, they're putting together the report. It's meant to report by June into the Parliament, though it could report earlier than that, my understanding is it could even happen earlier, but by June it's meant to come back to the Parliament, and then the potential then is for a bill to be brought forward. Note also that an independent or a minor party MP, like the Greens MP, could bring forth a bill at any moment, so nobody has to really actually, outside of government, wait for that process to finish, but we'll wait and see what happens but there is very likely to be legislation brought forward.

Can I say, that's irrespective of the fact that, as you've got here, the Galaxy Research, once again, very good independent research done, has shown that the majority of Queenslanders, the vast majority, do not want liberalisation of our current legislation. They do not want it, so the government is going against what the people of Queensland want, it's going against what the research has shown, and I think that that is a deplorable act.

55% of people say no to less restrictive legislation, they don't want it liberalised, only 22% of Queenslanders polled in this research said they want the full liberalisation, or full decriminalisation, only 22%, that is not a mandate to bring change.

And so, it's coming back into our Parliament, it will go to a committee.

Now we need to understand and I won't do all the mechanics for time today, but in that committee there are six members in the health, if it goes to the health committee, it may go to a legal committee, we don't know, if it goes to the health committee, there are three Labour members, one Greens member and two LNP members on that committee.

Now while I'm a big believer in parliamentary process, the parliament's rules have changed since the new government's formed where now they have the casting vote and if it's three-all, they have a casting vote. So, unlike last time in the Pyne bills where the first bill was not recommended it be passed, and the second one there was no agreement that it be passed, this time it's almost certain, in my view, or very highly likely, that that bill, whatever is in it, will pass through the committee, that's just my opinion of what will happen.

So the due process, I believe, will not be something that we will necessarily see like we would have seen on this bill in the last Parliament. So we have a big challenge ahead of us, we have a bill that will likely come and my hope is that all of my LNP colleagues will once again say, Queenslanders are saying they don't want this, and it's something that we should vote down.

Can I encourage you, and I'm just finishing up here, can I encourage you to have a look at the steps of the things you can do, on this yellow slip that's being handed around? Get the full research as well, and read it in detail there. But things you can do are like, quickly, get as many people as you can to sign the parliamentary petition, it made a big difference last time. Write your own personal letter to your local MP, visit your local MP, write letters to the editor of your newspaper, take to social media and raise awareness and concern, support abortion reform social media campaigns, these are things that you can do to make a difference.

Can I say to you in bringing, and write a submission to the committee so that it's overwhelmed when the committee looks at the legislation.

Can I say to you today, that we can win. You can win. Resistance is not useless because it was your resistance last time that turned the tide and caused MPs to fight against the bill and go against the bill themselves.

Now I'm going to close right there but I wanted to do something and I know my time's gone and I had suggested it so, it's my suggestion today. You know this is both a humanist, secular humanist, and a faith-based argument. There are people who come to the same conclusions as you without faith, and there are people, and there's people here today who have faith and there are people today who aren't particularly religious, fantastic that you're all on board, we're on the same cause, but I want to offer a prayer today, would that be okay?

This is not a particularly religious gathering, this is a gathering of all kinds of everyday Australians who stand for the same values, but I'm a pastor as well, and, I know, I'm in the Parliament and a pastor, there you go, you know, I'm coming out. I'd like us to pray, I would like to pray, and ask for God to guide us.

Heavenly Father, we come to you because you're a God of incredible love. We come to you because you're a God of life. You are the life giver who puts life in each one of us, who gives us the very breath that we breathe.

Father, we thank you that our mums made the right decision to have us, no matter what the difficulties of the circumstances surrounding them, they made the right choice to have each one of us and we are so grateful for the start that we had in life. But Father we pray for what is coming to again visit this Queensland Parliament in the months ahead, for something we don't ask for, something we don't need, more abortions in this state.

Father, we pray and we come against this whole movement that would try to say that more abortions are needed. And Father, we pray for every woman, we pray for every, a lady who finds themself in a situation of an unexpected pregnancy.

Father, first of all our heart is with them. Father God, we don't speak the truth without love, we speak the truth with love, and we pray for each woman who finds herself in that circumstance, maybe not being supported, not being helped, not having the man of their life standing with them, maybe not having their parents stand with them.

Father, we pray for each woman today, each lady today, who faces an unexpected, an unsupported pregnancy, we pray for them, we pray that you'll be with them, that they'll know your love and peace, and we pray they'll find good, friendly people around that will help and support, and you'll help them to make the best choices, the real choices, the right choices, for both their little one and also for their own life.

And Father, we pray for forgiveness, for the times when we've spoken the truth and not followed up with love. And I pray you'll help each one of us to do far more in the caring space, as we speak the truth, may we also care with that truth.

And Father, we ask for every member of Parliament who'll be making a decision around these bills, Father, we pray you would speak to them, whether they're a person of religion or not, they all have a sense of what's right and wrong in their own conscience.

Father, we ask that these bills will fail, and we ask Father, that you would provide all the resources, through government, through non-government agencies, to support women in their time of crisis and need, and we ask it in Jesus' name.

Amen, amen, thank you.