Turnbull Introduces Same-Sex Marriage Plebiscite Bill

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull has introduced the same-sex marriage plebiscite bill into the House of Representatives.

Turnbull

The plebiscite is set down for February 11, 2017. The result will be based on a majority of electors nationwide.

This is the proposed format of the ballot paper:

Ballot

In his speech to the House, Turnbull accused the ALP of adopting a morally superior attitude in opposing the plebiscite. He said the nation was able to conduct a civil debate, free of reckless behaviour, ahead of the plebiscite. He said the government had a mandate from the electorate to conduct the plebiscite. [Read more…]


Shorten And Bandt Introduce Bills To Legalise Same-Sex Marriage

The Leader of the Opposition, Bill Shorten, has introduced a private member’s bill into the House of Representatives to legaliste same-sex marriage.

The Greens member, Adam Bandt, also introduced a bill to achieve the same change.

Each man made a brief speech to introduce the bill. The debate was then adjourned. Video, audio and text of the speeches appears below. [Read more…]


Xenophon Senators Will Oppose Same-Sex Marriage Plebiscite; Senate Now Seems Certain To Oppose Poll

The plebiscite on same-sex marriage now seems unlikely to be supported by the Senate, following an announcement today by the Nick Xenophon Team (NXT).

The Xenophon party issued a statement on the plebiscite that says: “We do not support it.”

NXT says the issue is a matter for Parliament, the plebiscite could be ignored by Parliament and the $160 million to conduct the vote could be better spent.

“Each of us supports marriage equality and we are ready to vote accordingly,” the statement says.

There are three NXT senators: Nick Xenophon, Stirling Griff and Skye Kakoschke-Moore. All are from South Australia. [Read more…]


Senator Joe Bullock Announces Resignation Over ALP Policy On Same-Sex Marriage

Senator Joe Bullock, the Western Australian Labor senator elected in 2013 after a controversial preselection, has announced that he will resign from the Senate in the next few weeks. He cited the party’s policy on same-sex marriage and the removal of a conscience vote for members as his reasons.

Bullock

Bullock, 60, said his conscience would not allow him to support the ALP’s policy on same-sex marriage, a policy carried by the ALP National Conference last year. He said he could have moved to the crossbenches as an independent but neither of two conditions which would justify this applied: he was not threatened with expulsion by the party and as an endorsed ALP Senate candidate he could not claim a personal vote in support of his stand.

Bullock said he would stay in the Senate until the end of the current session later this month, so as not to deny the ALP a vote in the Senate.

Opposition Leader Bill Shorten wished Bullock well and described him as “a man of deeply held faith and convictions” who had been “a tenacious advocate for workers across Western Australia”.

Bullock’s preselection led to the defeat of former Senator Louise Pratt in 2013. A former head of the Shop Distributive and Allied Employees Union in WA, Bullock was attacked for his conservative views and for a speech he gave to a Christian organisation.

The ALP has just six parliamentary representatives from Western Australia. All three of its House members (Melissa Parke, Alannah MacTiernan and Gary Gray) have announced their retirements. Bullock is one of three ALP senators. His resignation will give the party greater flexibility in preselecting replacements.

Hansard transcript of Senator Joe Bullock’s resignation speech.

Senator BULLOCK (Western Australia) (20:09): It was early in the spring of 1973 that I drew up my courage to the sticking point and rose to speak. It was not a speech that I felt would find favour in a room packed with serious, striving parents and the dignified pedagogues in whose charge I had all but completed serving a twelve-year sentence for youth. My chosen topic was ambition. I spoke against it. It had occurred to me some years earlier that the path to personal fulfilment lay through service to others and not in the pursuit of wealth or self-aggrandisement, which I suspected of being the defining motive of the majority of those in attendance. It was, therefore, with surprise verging on astonishment that I greeted the decision of the wizened panel of adjudicators to award me the Old Trinitarians Union public speaking prize. With that prize came the realisation that it was the fate of some to peak early and that the road for me henceforth lay, in all probability, downhill. [Read more…]


High Court Invalidates ACT Same-Sex Marriage Law; Decision Unanimous

The High Court has thrown out the Australian Capital Territory’s same-sex marriage law.

In a strikingly definitive decision, the Justices voted 6-0 to invalidate the ACT’s Marriage Equality (Same Sex) Act 2013 (ACT). They said: “The whole of the ACT Act is of no effect.”

The court found that the whole of the ACT Act is inconsistent with the Commonwealth’s Marriage Act 1961 (Cth).

The court found that the Commonwealth has the power under Section 51(xxi) of the Constitution to define marriage. The Marriage Act (1961) was amended by the Howard government to define marriage as solely between a man and a woman. Today’s decision permits that definition to include same-sex couples.

Politically, the High Court’s decision upholds the Commonwealth’s power under Section 51. It denies states and territories the power to legislate for same-sex marriages but clears the way for the Commonwealth to do so. Whilst proponents of “marriage equality” may be disappointed with the decision, in fact it also removes a potential challenge to any future decision of the Commonwealth Parliament to legalise same-sex marriage. The next step lies in the hands of the government, the House of Representatives and the Senate.

Statement from the High Court of Australia.

THE COMMONWEALTH OF AUSTRALIA v THE AUSTRALIAN CAPITAL TERRITORY [2013] HCA 55

Today the High Court decided unanimously that the Marriage Equality (Same Sex) Act 2013, enacted by the Legislative Assembly for the Australian Capital Territory, cannot operate concurrently with the federal Marriage Act 1961. The Court held that the federal Parliament has power under the Australian Constitution to legislate with respect to same sex marriage, and that under the Constitution and federal law as it now stands, whether same sex marriage should be provided for by law is a matter for the federal Parliament. [Read more…]


Governor-General Quentin Bryce Calls For A Republic And Same-Sex Marriage

The Governor-General, Quentin Bryce, has called for an Australian republic and same-sex marriage in the last of her Boyer Lectures, delivered just four months before she retires from the Vice-Regal role.

Bryce

Bryce’s remarks came at the end of a speech titled “Advance Australia Fair”. She concluded by imagining a nation of care and equality, “where people are free to love and marry whom they choose and where, perhaps, my friends, one day, one young girl or boy may even grow up to be our nation’s first head of state”. [Read more…]