Blue Mountains News

Federal Parliament to Debate Same Sex Marriage

By Jonathan Foye
Archived 27 Jul 2015 - Posted: 30 May 2015
Wikimedia Commons Image Credit: Jeff Belmonte
Federal Opposition Leader Bill Shorten is set to introduce a Private Member’s Bill on Monday, 1 June, that would legislate same sex marriage. The bill is seconded by Labor Deputy Leader Tanya Plibersek.

The bill is unlikely to proceed to debate on that date, as Prime Minister Tony Abbott has suggested that the Liberal Party members of parliament will not have a conscience vote on this occasion. Instead, he suggested a cross-party committee that would look at how to frame the legislation.

Mr Abbott said that same sex marriage was an “important issue” that should be “owned by the parliament and not by any particular party.”

The Member for Macquarie, Louise Markus, has long defended the existing definition of marriage in Australian law, being between a man and a woman.

“It is important as the debate unfolds that we are respectful of each other’s views and at this point in time, the party’s position still stands,” Mrs Markus said.

Labor’s representative in the Blue Mountains, Susan Templeman was quick to tell Fresh Air Daily that she was “thrilled to see this being pushed forward by Labor in Parliament.”

“There is no reason to delay—the majority of Australians support gay marriage and it is the right thing to do,” Ms Templeman said. 

“If I were a Parliamentarian, I'd absolutely be voting "YES".”

Senator Doug Cameron, whose office is based in Springwood, has long supported same sex marriage. On Wednesday 27 May, he wrote on his Facebook page that “the referendum in Ireland is a clear demonstration that public opinion and understanding on the issue of marriage equality has changed.”

“I look forward to the debate and to voting for marriage equality” Senator Cameron wrote.

The Blue Mountains City Council passed a motion last year endorsing same-sex marriage.

Private Member’s Bills are pieces of legislation introduced by members of parliament that are not ministers. In Federal Parliament, these are brought into the House of Representatives on Mondays.

Since Federation, only fifteen have been signed into law. Perhaps the most significant of these was a bill that made voting mandatory, introduced by Senator Herbert Payne in 1924.  

 
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