If Australia says Yes on Wednesday, a bill will be introduced on Thursday

Western Australian Liberal Senator Dean Smith has confirmed that if Australia delivers a ‘Yes’ response when the results of the marriage postal survey are announced on Wednesday, he won’t be wasting any time introducing his marriage bill to parliament.

Senator Smith announced he intends to introduce his marriage bill on Thursday. Senator Smith announced his intention in an interview with The Sunday Times and followed it up with a round of media interviews today.

Senator Smith said there was no reason for the marriage bill to be held off.

“I am sure the great majority of Australians share my view — if a Yes vote is announced the parliamentary debate should begin at the earliest possible opportunity,” he said.

“After a cost of $122 million, and over two months of campaigning and years of public discussion, it makes no sense to delay a parliamentary debate. Australians upheld their end of the bargain by voting en masse, now it’s time for Parliament to uphold its end of the same deal.”

Over the last week conservative MPs including Senator Cory Bernardi from the Australian Conservatives, and conservative Liberal politicians including Kevin Andrew and Ian Goodenough, have been advocating for the issue to be processed slowly.

Goodenough has confirmed that a group of around a dozen MPs are working on an alternative version of marriage legislation that will have wide ranging protections for freedom of speech, freedom of religion and freedom of conscience.

The MPs working on an alternative bill have reportedly suggested that Senator Smith’s bill would require up to 100 amendments before it would meet their expectations.

Senator Smith said he expected his bill would be debated and amended, as was per the normal practice of parliament.

Yesterday The Greens’ leader Senator Richard Di Natalie voiced his party’s support for Senator Smith’s bill. The Labor party have also pledged to get behind the bill.

Appearing on Sky News Senator Smith said he was “cautiously optimistic” about the result that would be delivered on Wednesday morning.

Senator Smith said that given the high participation rate in the survey, and the long campaign, he believed that Australians would now expect parliamentarians to deal with the issue with no delay.

“Australians themselves will want to see the issue dealt with as expeditiously, and as carefully, as possible, so I think there should be no delay in bringing forward a bill.”

Senator Smith said there would be two week of parliament to debate the bill before the end of the year.

“Australians will not tolerate delay, they have upheld their end of the bargain bu participating in such huge numbers in the postal survey, but they’ll expect parliamentarians to uphold their side of the bargain.” Senator Smith said.

Senator Smith said he was pleased that his bill was finding widespread support among his Liberal colleagues, Labor and The Greens.

The Western Australian Senator challenged his colleagues who talk of the need for widespread amendments or an alternative bill to put their cards on the table.

“If they do hold their convictions closely, if they do want to prosecute arguments around this particular point and issue, I do encourage them to bring forward those amendments. Let’s see those amendments, let’s have them debated, put them on the floor of the senate.”

Senator Smith said the issue of religious freedom in Australia was something that needed to be discussed, but insisted it should be outside of the confines of the marriage bill.

“We do have a mechanism where this broader issue of religious freedom can be discussed, can be canvassed and legislation can come from it.” Senator Smith said, noting that Kevin Andrews was already chairing a committee looking into the issue.

OIP Staff


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