Dean Smith’s marriage bill introduced to the Senate

WA Senator Dean Smith’s bill to amend the Marriage Act has been introduced to the upper house this afternoon, following the victory of the ‘Yes’ vote in the postal survey.

Senator Smith’s bill has been co-sponsored by eight senators from across the political spectrum, and both Labor and The Greens have thrown their support behind the bill.

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.”

“The Prime Minister and I, and other members of the government, have always said that there should be strong protections for religious freedom and freedom of conscience. Different senators will have their own views about whether the protections in Senator Smith’s bill go far enough,” Senator Brandis said.

“So I foreshadow that in the committee stage of the debate, I will move an amendment to extend the right of conscientious objection to performing a ceremony of marriage from ministers of religious to include civil marriage celebrants as well.”

Senator Brandis added that the amendment was not, nor was there, a government position on the matter.

Labor Senator Penny Wong and Greens leader Richard Di Natale both rose to respond to Senator Brandis’ suggestion of new amendments, asserting that the bill put forward by Senator Smith had been agreed upon by a Senate Committee, and was shown to be acceptable by the will of the Australian people. Senator Smith then rose to introduce his bill.

Debate on the bill is due to begin in the Senate tomorrow morning, and is unlikely to face major opposition following the news that fellow Liberal James Paterson would no longer move his more conservative bill.

OIP Staff

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