Julie Bishop: It’s too early to say what the marriage legislation will look like

Acting Prime Minister Julie Bishop says she believes the ‘Yes’ campaign will win the marriage postal survey, but comments that it’s too soon to know what the final legislation will be.

The Western Australian MP is serving as the Acting Prime Minister for the first time after Nationals leader Barnaby Joyce, and Deputy Nationals leader Fiona Nash were ruled as being ineligible to sit in parliament.

Yesterday the member for Curtin said she believed the ‘Yes’ campaign would be successful but it was too early to say what might be included in the final legislation.

“I am assuming that the Yes case will get up. I’m reading what the media are saying about the responses, most certainly in my own electorate, I think the Yes case will get up and if it gets up, I will facilitate the passage of a bill,” Bishop said.

“Whether it is Dean Smith’s or a variation, it’s too early to say.”

Bishop has refused to take a stance on the issue during the marriage postal survey, but has previously indicated that she does not have a problem with same sex marriage.

The Acting Deputy Prime Minister’s comments come as conservative members of her party push for a wide range of amendments to be included in any marriage legislation.

Right wing MPs including Senator Eric Abetz, Andrew Hastie, Ian Goodenough and Zed Seselja, are reportedly working with Australian Conservatives leader Cory Bernardi to create an alternative marriage bill with greater protections for freedom of speech and freedom of religion.

Yesterday a report in The West Australian suggested that there could be up to 100 amendments put forward on the bill developed by Senator Dean Smith.

Tasmanian senator Eric Abetz has declared that the bill Senator Smith developed, based on the findings of a senate inquiry into the issue, was “not acceptable as a starting point” for may eventually become law.

Senator Abetz, a leading voice of the ‘No’ campaign and longtime opponent of marriage equality, said he was not admitting defeat in survey, but if the ‘Yes’ campaign was successful, Senator Smith’s bill would not be sufficient.

“It is seriously inadequate, as parents, freedom of speech and religious freedom, along with conscientious objection, all need full protection,” Senator Abetz said.

Julie Bishop said if the ‘Yes’ vote was successful the government would ensure the issue was dealt with promptly, saying that the Labor party had delayed the issue by not being supportive of the government’s original plan to hold a ballot box plebiscite.

“That was the whole idea behind the plebiscite which, had Labor backed it, the plebiscite could have been held last February and this matter would have been done and dusted,” she said.

“But Labor blocked the plebiscite, blocked people having their say so we went ahead with a postal survey, which by all accounts is extremely successful in terms of people’s response.

“Should the response be Yes the government will facilitate the passage of legislation.” Bishop said.

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull has promised on several occasions that if the ‘Yes’ campaign was successful the required legislation would be passed by parliament before Christmas.

OIP Staff

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