Senator Dean Smith still hopeful of parliamentary vote on marriage

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Senator Dean Smith is still hopeful that a parliamentary vote on marriage can be achieved during the current parliament.

Speaking to The Guardian Senator Smith said the idea of making major decisions via a plebiscite was dead and it was time for the parliament to act.

The Western Australian Senator was a vocal opponent of the plebiscite saying it was an abrogation of parliamentary responsibility. The Liberal member has been a supporter of marriage equality and has called on other members of his party to consider their position on the issue.

Senator Smith said while he didn’t enter the parliament as a supporter of marriage equality, he’s had no regrets about the stance he’s taken.

“At the end of the day we all have to walk with our own conscience, and I am very comfortable with the decision I made. I did not come to parliament to argue for same-sex marriage. So it does surprise me that I have become such a strong and clear advocate for marriage.”

While Senator Smith was the only federal Liberal MP to oppose the plebiscite he was not alone in his views. Western Australian Premier Colin Barnett also spoke out against the party’s decision to opt for a national vote on the issue.

Senator Smith will now sit on a committee looking into the governments marriage bill and says its a great opportunity to look at getting the balance between equality and religious freedoms right.

The Prime Minister has been adamant that the party’s policy on marriage will not change, arguing that if the legislation for a plebiscite can not be passed the issue will not be revisited.

The PM’s stance comes in the face of an overwhelming lack of public support for a national vote, and significant opposition within the parliament.

The in-depth interview with Senator Smith covers a wide range of topics ranging from marriage equality to free speech, the economy and the influence of the One Nation party.

OIP Staff

 

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