Tuesday, 22 January, 2019

Debate On Same Sex Marriage Legislation To Begin Tomorrow

James Paterson at a Senate public hearing for the postal survey Debate On Same Sex Marriage Legislation To Begin Tomorrow
Melinda Barton | 15 November, 2017, 11:44

"Now it is up to us, here in the Parliament of Australia, to get on with it".

Same-sex marriage is on track to be legalised before Christmas after draft laws were introduced to the Senate.

Education Minister Simon Birmingham also voiced concerns.

Liberal Senator Dean Smith, on behalf of a group of cross-party senators, is introducing a private bill to change the Marriage Act, which will be debated on Thursday.

"If you are a gay man or a gay woman and you go into a florist and say "I'd like to buy a bunch of flowers", it's just wrong and illegal for florist to say "I don't" serve gay people" just as it would be wrong or illegal for the florist to say to an indigenous person "I don't serve indigenous people'".

Most of the western Sydney seats that voted "no" have a relatively higher level of religiosity and a high number of overseas-born residents, as reflected in the census.

At 10am on Wednesday, the head of the Australian Bureau of Statistics will reveal whether Australia will join countries like Canada and the United Kingdom in favour of marriage equality or remain against it alongside nations like Iraq and Yemen.

Former prime minister Tony Abbott, a vocal opponent of same-sex marriage, saw a massive 75 per cent of people vote "yes" in his seat of Warringah.

"Attorney General George Brandis first rose to give a brief statement on the bill, saying it will facilitate the Prime Minister's promise to facilitate legislation should the postal survey yield a "Yes" result, and spoke on some amendments he would like seen added to Senator Smith's bill".

Before Wednesday, opinion polls suggested support for same-sex marriage in Australia was running about 60 per cent.

"I think it would have virtually no prospect of getting through the parliament", Mr Turnbull said, emphasising it was up to MPs and not the government to approve legislation.

'But also, we should respect another human right and that is freedom of religious belief, ' he said.

The final version of the bill, however, is unlikely to be vastly different given any amendments would need to be supported by a majority in both chambers.

Liberal senator James Paterson's bill is also far more stringent.

In particular, Mr Morrison outlined a series of changes including the ability for parents to withdraw their children from schools if they were taught about same-sex marriage, protections for religious organisations that now have tax-deductible status or receive public funds, and a "no-detriment" clause for people who believe in traditional marriage.

If the Senate passes the bill by November 30, the House of Representatives could begin debating the bill on December 4.

"It's a rebuke to the Australian people", Campaign Director, Tiernan Brady, told Fairfax. "Victory can not be making someone else feel excluded", he said.

"I don't believe Australians would welcome, and certainly the government would not countenance the making legal, discrimination that is unlawful today", Mr Turnbull told reporters on Tuesday in Manila, before heading home.