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Bob Katter’s Bizarre Speech On Same-Sex Marriage

Bob Katter, the independent member for Kennedy, has delivered a speech on same-sex marriage to the House of Representatives.

Katter’s speech was the last for the day and came on the eve of the House voting for the legislation.

Katter, 72, was elected to the House as a National Party member in 1993. Since 2001, he has won the seat as an independent. Since 2011, he has headed an eponymous party, Katter’s Australian Party.

Prior to entering federal parliament, Katter was Queensland MLA for Flinders (1974-1992). He was Minister for Development and Community Services (1983-1989) and Minister for Mines and Energy (1989) under the Bjelke-Petersen, Ahern and Cooper National Party governments.

  • Listen to Katter’s speech (16m)
  • Watch Katter (16m)

Hansard transcript of Bob Katter’s speech to the House of Representatives on same-sex marriage.

Mr KATTER (Kennedy) (22:06): I’m glad I made a mistake and had to come down early so that I could hear the speeches, as I know now why I do not sit here and listen to speeches or question time. I have heard a conglomeration of snivelling drivel in my life, but there is not the slightest scintilla of intellectual content in any one of tonight’s speeches. [Read more…]


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…]


We Cannot Be Complacent: Malcolm Turnbull On Orlando Shootings

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull has responded to the overnight shootings in Orlando, Florida, in which 50 people were shot and at least as many more injured.

Turnbull described the killings as “an act of terror and an act of hate”.

Later in the day, after he had spoken to the US Ambassador to Australia, John Berry, Turnbull said: “This was a murderous attack on gay people in this nightclub. Many people of course could be victim of an attack like that. We don’t have all the details but it was clearly directed by a murderous hatred of gay people exercising their freedom to gather together.” [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…]


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…]


President Barack Obama’s Second Inaugural Address

Barack Obama has been ceremonially sworn in for his second term as the 44th President of the United States.

Obama and Vice-President Joe Biden were officially sworn in yesterday, in accordance with the requirements of the Constitution. In today’s public ceremony, Supreme Court Associate Justice Sonia Sotomayor again swore in Biden and Chief Justice John Roberts again swore in Obama.

Political attention today focussed on Obama’s Second Inaugural Speech.

With frequent invocations of ‘We, The People’, the speech was Obama’s most progressive as president. Amongst other things, he called for action on climate change and equality for gay people. [Read more…]


Malcolm Turnbull Speech On Same-Sex Marriage

Opposition frontbencher Malcolm Turnbull has spoken in parliament on the Marriage Amendment Bill.

Turnbull made clear that he supported same-sex marriage but was bound by the coalition’s decision to oppose the bill. He said: “In my view, the numbers would not be there even if there were a free vote on the coalition side.” He called on same-sex marriage proponents to support civil unions.

Turnbull’s speech was delivered in the Federation Chamber.

Text of Malcolm Turnbull’s speech on the Marriage Amendment Bill 2012.

Mr TURNBULL (Wentworth) (11:37): Following on from my very good friend the member for Leichhardt, let me return the compliment. He has been a vigorous, persuasive and very effective advocate for the rights of same-sex couples and people of a homosexual orientation, and has done a great deal of work, perhaps made more effective because of his unlikely persona as the crocodile farmer from North Queensland, speaking up for the gay community in the widest sense of the word.

Turning to the Marriage Amendment Bill 2012, as honourable members are aware, the coalition has taken a position as a party, and as a coalition party room, not to allow a free vote on this issue. So, like the member for Leichardt, I will not be voting in favour of this bill. Were, however, a free vote to be permitted I would support legislation which recognised same-sex couples as being described as in a marriage. I want to explain to the House why I would do that and also suggest an alternative.

The arguments that have been put against gay marriage fall into three categories. The first one we can call a taxonomic one. They say a marriage is between a man and a woman. You cannot make a table into a chair simply by calling it a chair. It is a table; it does not matter what name you give it. The weakness with that argument is that the definition of marriage has changed again and again over time. In my estimation, at least one-third of the marriages extant in Australia today would not be recognised by the Catholic Church, or indeed by the Anglican Church, because one of the parties to that marriage has been married before and their former spouses are still living. So the truth is that society has defined and redefined marriage again and again. [Read more…]


Q&A: Wong And Hockey On Gay Marriage

The final question on tonight’s Q&A produced an interesting contrast between Shadow Treasurer Joe Hockey and Finance Minister Penny Wong. [Read more…]