Conservatives conspicuous by their absence as emotional senator speaks. Follow all the latest news and developments, live …

She speaks of the difficulty of supporting the amendments to the Marriage Act in 2004, when the Howard government made it illegal for same-sex marriage. Labor supported that amendment.

It was a dark moment in the history of this parliament. For me, Labor’s support for the Howard government’s amendment meant I voted for discrimination against myself and the people whom I love. I had a choice at that time I could go out in a blaze of publicity, take a public stand against my party and become an outsider in a pretty dramatic way. Well, I decided to fight this discrimination within the political system and I chose to stay.

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Wong is speaking of the discrimination she felt moving to Australia from Malaysia as an eight-year- old. She was the only Asian face at primary school, she says, and was excluded and made to feel different.

Neighbours rejected me for my difference for no reason other than the colour of my skin, the colour of my hair, the shape of my eyes. It was this experience growing up in a predominantly white Australia that taught me the impact of fear and of prejudice, and it is from this experience that I am driven to remove discrimination and embed equality.

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