CANBERRA -- "It upset me that he didn't answer me in parliament. I thought that was pretty hurtful, not just to me but to those families that were waiting for an answer."
On a day when the marriage equality plebiscite, a $6.3 billion savings bill and a maiden speech from a climate change denying One Nation senator grabbed most of the headlines, a young boy from the south coast of NSW became an unlikely star.
Eddie Blewett is 13 years old. He has two mums. And he had a question for the Prime Minister.
"This morning I met 13-year-old Eddie who is visiting Canberra today with his two mums, asking Parliament to block a plebiscite," Labor deputy leader Tanya Plibersek said during Question Time.
"Eddie said to me and I quote, "Why should people who barely know us make an assumption on our families and vote on how we can live?" Can the Prime Minister explain why Eddie should have to put up with a $7.5 million campaign by people who have never met him, telling him that there is something wrong with his family?"
Eddie and his mums, Neroli Dickson and Claire Blewett, watched on from the public gallery as Malcolm Turnbull walked to the dispatch box. He gave a less than pleasing answer, Eddie told The Huffington Post Australia.
"Eddie will understand that everything we do here in this Parliament is designed to ensure that Australia becomes an even better place for him to grow up in and realise his dreams, and in this respect, everything we do is about him and his generation," Turnbull said, gesturing to the boy in the gallery and mentioning him by name.
"But Mr Speaker, I'm very disappointed that the deputy leader of the opposition would use Eddie, take advantage of Eddie's presence in this way. I'm very disappointed, because what she has said is that people who do not know Eddie are not entitled to express a view on the Marriage Act."
Following Question Time, Eddie and his mums spoke to HuffPost Australia. Eddie told us he wrote a letter to Turnbull, expressing his disappointment at his answer.
"[The letter] was saying about how it upset me that he didn't answer me in parliament. I thought that was pretty hurtful, not just to me but to those families that were waiting for an answer," Eddie said.
"He looked at me, he was looking at all of us. but he didn't answer, which was the main thing. The letter also said 'we just want you to do your job.' They're voted into the parliament by people to make decisions for people. I don't know why he's thinking he can ask the people why, again, what they think when they voted him in to vote what he thinks."
"They know nothing about us, but they're voting on our family, which is none of their business."
Eddie's unexpected arrival on the parliamentary hansard came on the same day the government outlined details of its planned plebiscite; a February 11 vote, with $7.5 million each given to the "yes" and "no" campaigns for advertising. Neroli told HuffPost Australia she was shocked after hearing the details.
"I'm horrified as the mother of a self-conscious 13-year-old boy, that we would spend government money on a campaign for people to have their say on whether they feel we're normal or not. I knew that was essentially what a plebiscite was but it never hit me that we would fund that," she said.
"We now have $7.5 million given to people who will be disrespectful and hurtful about people who aren't the same--"
"But we are the same," Eddie interjected.
"We've just got a different family."
Neroli also commented on the contrast between the government introducing a $6.3 billion savings bill on the same day as confirming a plebiscite -- estimated at $160 million alone -- and $15 million in advertising funds.
"One minute they're talking about bringing everything into budget and how tough that had been, then the next they're giving all this money away to campaigning. These mixed messages are bizarre," she said.Suggest a correction