Dean Smith’s bill introduced into senate
Liberal Senator Dean Smith’s marriage equality bill has been moved in the Senate following an overwhelming “Yes” vote from the public. According to details available, general debate on its wording is set to begin tomorrow. In an interesting turn of events, Liberal Senator James Paterson has withdrawn his controversial rival bill conceding “It is clear the majority of senators believe my colleague Senator Dean Smith’s Bill is where we should start.” There was applause in the Senate as Smith introduced his private member’s bill to legalise same sex marriage in Australia. Smith tweeted moments ago, “I will shortly introduce the Marriage Amendment (Definition and Religious Freedoms) Bill 2017 into the Australia senate to legislate for marriage equality while protecting religious views about marriage.Attorney-General George Brandis moved the bill into the Senate, noting that it would be open for free debate and there was no Government position on the bill.Senator Smith’s bill, which has cross-party support, contains provisions so that ministers of religion could not be forced to conduct same-sex marriages. The Bill was co-sponsored by eight other senators including Liberal party colleagues Linda Reynolds and Jane Hume, Labor’s Penny Wong and Louise Pratt, Greens party leader Richard Di Natale and colleague Janet Rice. It also includes crossbenchers Derryn Hinch and Skye Kakoschke-Moore. Labor’s leader in the Senate Penny Wong has asked her colleagues to keep in mind the public’s view when discussing amendments. “We have the view that the Australian people voted to lessen discrimination and not to extend it,” she said.”We also take the view that the bill does not change or take away any existing protections for religious freedoms.” Greens party leader Senator Richard di Natale noted the bill introduced to the Parliament was not the bill his party would have introduced themselves, and that they would not be open to further discussions regarding “entrenching discrimination in legislation“.
On the other hand, Senator George Brandis predicted debate on the Bill would continue past next week. The Bill will then need to pass through the House of Representatives. Liberal senator James Paterson announced he would not introduce his rival Bill, which sought conservative amendments that would allow businesses to refuse service to LGBTIQ couples for their wedding. Federal Opposition Leader Bill Shorten has told thousands of celebrating same-sex marriage supporters they should be able to get married in December.”Yes, yes, yes”, Mr Shorten screamed to the crowd gathered to hear the result of the same-sex marriage survey in Melbourne.”It may have been 61 per cent who voted yes in the survey, but I want to say to all LGBTIQ Australians you are 100 per cent loved, 100 per cent valued, and after the next two weeks of Parliament, 100 per cent able to marry the person that you love.”Today we celebrate, tomorrow we legislate.”Former Prime Minister and a “No” vote campaigner Tony Abbott has posted a statement through his Facebook page where he has told his followers he congratulated the Yes campaign, and said the Parliament should respect the vote.”The people have spoken out and, of course, the Parliament should respect the result,” he said.”I also thank the 4.7 million Australians who supported marriage between a man and a woman.”Mr Abbott noted that the PM and Opposition Leader had both “pledged their support for freedom of religion”, and indicated he wanted the Bill that is expected to be introduced to Parliament this afternoon “improved”. “So far, this process has been a credit to us as a nation and now needs to be completed in a way that keeps us the best country in the world,” said Abbot who had led a fierce No campaign, suggesting earlier that a No vote of 40 per cent would be a “moral victory”. The No vote however only managed 38 per cent of respondents and his former seat of Warringah, at least 75 per cent voted Yes, a slap in the face for the former premier.