Malcolm Turnbull says Paterson bill has “no prospect” of passing

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull has put his support behind Senator Dean Smith’s marriage bill saying the conservative bill put forward by Victorian Senator James Paterson has no prospect of becoming law.

On the eve of the marriage postal survey results being announced, the Prime Minister said MPs would be free to suggest amendments on any legislation that was put forward but said the marriage bill from Senator Paterson had “virtually no prospect of getting through the Parliament”.

“Assuming there is a Yes vote tomorrow — the pollsters will really be rocked if there isn’t — but assuming there is, there will be a Private Members Bill and amendments can be moved and if people want to move an amendment of that kind, well, you know, they can,” Turnbull said.

“[But] I don’t believe Australians would welcome, and certainly the Government would not countenance, making legal discrimination that is unlawful today.”

A marriage bill developed by Senator Smith has been on the table for several months and contains provisions for churches, and civil celebrants from a religious background. The Smith bill was developed from the findings of a senate inquiry into the issue.

This week Conservative MPs put forward their own marriage bill. The bill was announced by Senator James Paterson who argues widespread protections for religious freedom, freedom of speech and freedom of conscience are required.

The bill has been widely criticised as an attempt to roll back Australia’s well established anti-discrimination laws.

This evening Senator Smith put informed the President of the Senate that he would be putting forward a motion to introduce his marriage bill tomorrow.

The bill is co-signed by Labor’s Penny Wong and Louise Pratt, Greens leader Richard Di Natale, and Janet Rice,  Liberal senators Linda Reynolds and Jane Hume, and crossbenchers Derryn Hinch and Skye Kakoschke-Moore.

The alternative bill put forward by Senator Paterson has found little support outside of the right-wing of the Liberal Party, with many highlighting the confusing state of affairs the provisions within the bill would create.

Appearing on the ABC’s 7:30 program on Monday night Senator Paterson argued that it was essential for bakers, dressmakers and AV equipment hire companies to be able to refuse to serve people who were organising a same sex wedding.

Senator Paterson said under his legislation it would still be illegal for a shop to put up a sign saying ‘No Gays’, but it would be okay for a business to post a sign saying ‘No Gay Weddings’.

Attorney General George Brandis appeared on Channel Nine’s Today show on Tuesday morning and said he disagreed.

“If it’s legally and morally wrong to discriminate against one gay person, I don’t know how it becomes right to discriminate against two.”

OIP Staff

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