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Love on the menu at pollies' breakfast

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August 09, 2017

Politicians and religious leaders of all faiths have spoken of love at a Canberra breakfast.

Love was on the menu when politicians and religious leaders broke bread at an interfaith breakfast.

Ahead of a renewed Senate debate on a same-sex marriage plebiscite, the nation's leaders spoke about the power of love on Wednesday morning.

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull said the "mystery of breaking bread together" and sharing meals was at the heart of all faiths.

"It is such a human thing to share food, to share company, to take the opportunity to sustain each other and, in doing so, to help each other, to understand each other, to demonstrate in a very practical and tangible way love," he said.

Australia's multicultural nation was blessed with diversity and it was important to encourage everyone "to be curious about our friends' and neighbours' histories ... (and) religious values".

Labor leader Bill Shorten seized the opportunity to talk about the love of same-sex couples, saying there was nothing obsolete about wishing to treat everyone as we would wish to be treated ourselves.

"If we can agree that our duty is to help the vulnerable, to speak up for the powerless, to gather in those who feel marginalised and excluded, how can we continue to draw a line based on who we love?" he asked the religious representatives.

"How can compassion and charity, love, recognition and endorsement continue to be restricted to heterosexual Australia?"

Marriage equality was based on a broad ideal of equality in an Australia that included everyone, but at present gay and lesbian Australians were excluded.

Mr Shorten also said in Australia's multicultural, multi-faith society people needed to not just tolerate but celebrate diversity.

Greens leader Richard Di Natale picked up that point, saying building bridges between communities had never been more important.

"It promotes a diverse and rich society in which to thrive, where people feel included, where everyone belongs and where we can love each other a little more.

"And God knows we need a little more love in our community."

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