Same sex marriage passes

Standing ovation as same-sex marriage becomes law

WELCOME to our Parliament blog, we'll be covering proceedings from 9.30am as politicians consider the same-sex marriage bill.

The last of 125 speeches totalling 21 hours by MPs on same-sex marriage wrapped up late on Wednesday night, paving the way for a potential final vote today. MPs will be able to propose and consider amendments, before voting on the legislation itself. (Times in AEDT)

Overview of the final vote on the Marriage Amendment Bill in the House of Representatives at Parliament House in Canberra, Thursday, December 7, 2017. (AAP Image/Lukas Coch)
Overview of the final vote on the Marriage Amendment Bill in the House of Representatives at Parliament House in Canberra, Thursday, December 7, 2017. (AAP Image/Lukas Coch)

6pm AEDT


Australia has done it! The same sex marriage bill has passed the House of Representatives, making same sex marriage legal across the country. 

"Today will be a day we look back on and be one of those days you remember," Plibersek said while revealing she would not support the final amendment.

"You will remember exactly where you were when this legislation passed, exactly what you were doing when this legislation passed.

Parliament's public gallery was packed as people watched the bill become law. Deputy opposition leader Tanya Plibersek told Parliament everyone would remember exactly where they were when this bill was passed. 

The house broke into a standing ovation as the bill was agreed to, before it had even been voted on, and the public gallery began to sing. 

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull said it was time for more marriages and more love. 

"What a day for love, for equality for respect," he said.

"For every one of us, this is a great day." 

Greens MP Adam Bandt announced love has won in Australia. 

5pm AEDT

The final amendment

MP Sarah Henderson is arguing for freedom of speech and freedom of religion. The second half of the amendment is to protect civil celebrants who want to have the option to object to marrying a same-sex couple.

4.30pm AEDT

Andrew Broad's second amendments voted down

Like all amendments that have come before it today, the Nationals MP's second and final set of amendments for religious protections, has been voted down. Ayes: 60. Noes: 85. There's one amendment left - from Sarah

Henderson - to be considered before the vote on legislation.

Ministers Christopher Pyne and Kelly O'Dwyer have done as they promised and voted against all the amendments.

4.20pm AEDT

Andrew Broad's first amendments have been voted down

Ayes: 52. Noes: 86. Another step closer to the vote on legislation. Broad is now moving his second round of amendments about religious protections.


4pm AEDT

Bob Katter takes the floor

MP Bob Katter has stirred reaction from the public galleries while arguing for amendments to the marriage equality bill to protect religious freedoms.

"L-G-B-T, whatever the hell it is...I have no idea what it'll probably change it," Katter said.

"I refuse to use the word g-a-y."

The member for Kennedy's comments came as he expressed confusion as to why people in relationships want to use the term 'marriage'.

He then read out the definition of gay: 'Beautiful, light, happy and ethereal".

The gallery broke into applause.

"They are proud of it," a bemused Katter responded.

"I would be embarrassed to go around calling myself all these wonderful adjectives."

"They took the word gay off they're taking the word marriage off us."


Third last amendment voted down

Scott Morrison's amendment has been voted down. Ayes: 59. Noes: 82. Parliament has another two amendments to go before voting on the bill. 

3pm AEDT

Same-sex marriage debate resumes

The debate about marriage equality has resumed in Parliament.

2,20pm AEDT

Debate on SSM likely to begin at 3pm

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull says Question Time will finish earlier, meaning the debate on the same-sex marriage bill will likely resume at 3pm

1.29pm AEDT

Debate will resume later today

Parliament will move on to other business at 1.30pm and there will be Question Time before debate on the same-sex marriage bill will resume at 3.15pm.

Labor generously offered to withdrawn a speech and defer it until February next year so the debate could start earlier, at 3.15pm rather than 4.15pm.

Leader of the House of Representatives for the government Christopher Pyne said there would obviously be a vote on the bill this evening.


Marriage Equality supporters gather at Parliament House

Ambassadors and volunteers from the Equality Campaign have started to gather on the lawns of parliament house ahead of the vote - which could be within hours - including comedian Magda Szubanski

Marriage Equality Ambassadors Magda Szubanski, on the lawns of Parliament House in Canberra. Picture Kym SmithSource:News Corp Australia
Marriage Equality Ambassadors Magda Szubanski, on the lawns of Parliament House in Canberra. Picture Kym SmithSource:News Corp Australia



Abbott slams 'supine' respect for SSM bill

Liberal MP Tony Abbott has again risen to put forward his concerns about same-sex marriage saying it was being done "on the run".

He said both the Prime Minister and the Leader of the Opposition promised protections around freedom of religion would be in place.

"A promise was made by the leaders of this parliament and this promise has not been adequately delivered on," Mr Abbott said.

Heeeeere's Tony.
Heeeeere's Tony.

Mr Abbott said had never heard members of the House showing such "supine respect" for a bill from the Senate like it was a "tablet of stone" and beyond delay or consideration.

"We don't want to see new forms of discrimination in place of old ones that are rightly gone," he said.

He said "injustices are happening this day", noting the case of Catholic Archbishop of Hobart Julian Porteous and a Canberra women who was sacked from her work after a No post on Facebook.

"Do we want today to be a day of unity, or do we want today to be a day of division?" Mr Abbott said.

Archbishop Porteous was referred to the Australian Anti-Discrimination Commissioner for a booklet distributed to school families entitled "Don't Mess With Marriage".

The complaint was eventually withdrawn without a finding.



A 'shield' for views, not a 'sword' for bigotry

Politicians are now considering amendments from Liberal MP Andrew Hastie who has put forward changes to protect people and organisations with traditional views of marriage.

He said his amendments would provide a "shield" for their views so they did not fall foul of anti-vilification laws in states and territories.

It would also stop people from having to promote or support views contrary to their beliefs and allow parents to withdraw children from school classes not consistent with their beliefs.

He said the amendments would protect freedom of conscience but did not licence hate speech.

MP Andrew Hastie
MP Andrew Hastie

Protections would only operate around beliefs on marriage, it did not open the door to broader religious freedoms contrary to Australian values, and "it does not open the door to sharia law".

But Labor MP Terri Butler said she did not support the amendments, describing them as a "radical departure" from existing Australian law.

"We're talking here about new provisions that are unlike anything we have in Australian law," she said.

While she acknowledged there could be merit in the amendments, they should be considered with a detailed review and submissions. She said the Ruddock review would be the ideal way to do this.

She also said she did not want to see the bill delayed further by amendments.

"Delay in the passage of marriage equality would break the nation's heart," she said.

"It's manifestly unfair to ask people to wait longer for marriage equality."



Division called for Sukkar's amendments

The Liberal MP's amendments were not supported and unlike Tony Abbott, he decided to call for a division. For the record: 43 voted for the amendments, 97 against.

Applause rang out in the chamber as the numbers were read out - in an encouraging sign of what's to come.

There's four more amendments to be dealt with before a final vote.



Growing optimism for decision today

Even the pollies are starting to see the light at the end of the tunnel, with the Greens MP reporting a good "feeling".



Appeal for amendments to be rejected

The Law Council of Australia has made a last-minute appeal for members to reject amendments: "The bill already strikes the right balance between protecting the right to religious freedom and right to be free from discrimination."


Tony Abbott calls for 'unifying' moment

The Liberal MP has risen to defend Michael Sukkar's amendments saying almost five million people in Australia had voted No to same-sex marriage.

"It respects traditional marriage while allowing same sex marriage to take place," he said.

He said protections for freedom of conscience, religion and parental choice would make the bill a "unifying occasion".

Mr Sukkar's amendments would have created two categories of marriage and would also have given new celebrants the ability to refuse to marry couples if they hold a "genuine religious or conscientious belief".

Similar amendments moved in the Senate by Liberal senators James Paterson and David Fawcett were rejected.


Mr Abbott said existing celebrants will already be given this right and this should be extended to new celebrants.

Currently under the bill, two categories of celebrants would be created: "religious celebrants" who would be able to refuse to marry couples on religious grounds, and "civil celebrants" who would not.

The protection of religious freedoms will be dealt with separately next year after former immigration minister Philip Ruddock and a panel reviews whether Australian law adequately protects the human right to religious freedom.

But Mr Abbott said these should have been dealt with before politicians were asked to vote on the bill, as promised by the Prime Minister and the Leader of the Opposition.



It's looking increasingly likely SSM bill will be passed today

Labor has said it will not be supporting any amendments.

"We need to get this done," Labor's Mark Dreyfus said.

MPs are currently considering an amendment from Liberal MP Michael Sukkar that would have created two categories of marriage, one between a "man and a woman", and another between "two people".

Both Labor and Greens have also said won't support the amendments.

It looks like the bill will be voted on by lunchtime today.



Greens try to pass amendments

Adam Bandt was also unsuccessful in getting changes passed to tighten rules around civil celebrants refusing to conduct same-sex marriages.



Tony Abbott defends his amendment

In a tweet shortly after his motion was considered, Mr Abbott tweeted that he moved the amendment for those who take religious freedom seriously.

Mr Abbott's amendments would have wrecked the SSM bill's passage but he didn't try to force them to a full vote.

The former Prime Minister said he relented out of respect for the Yes voters.



Tony Abbott's amendment fails

Liberal MP Warren Entsch gave a final second reading speech on the bill and said a clerk had confirmed if an amendment from Tony Abbott was carried "it will stop the progress of the bill".

Mr Abbott moved a rare "pious amendment" that would have halted debate and forced it to restart again.

Mr Abbott's amendment was not supported and the bill has now moved to the next step.

Mr Entsch also called out Bob Katter's speech last night, saying: "His pathetic attempts of humour, insensitivity and grossly misleading comments were devoid of any facts and were highly offensive, embarrassing and cringe-worthy.

"They need to be called out for what they are. His speech exemplifies what the LGBTI community have had to endure to so long."



Amendments to be considered

Several government MPs, including Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull, have said they will support - or at least consider - amendments to be put forward by their conservative colleagues - namely Andrew Hastie and Michael Sukkar.

Labor will oppose any change, as will cabinet minister Christopher Pyne who branded some of the amendments "superfluous" and "unnecessary".

If the bill passes unchanged from the one that cleared the Senate last week, it will become law.

If changes are successful, the bill will have to return to the Senate for approval.



Bob Katter delivers bizarre speech on same-sex marriage

Just after 10pm last night Bob Katter decided he would join his colleagues in the House of Representatives and share his thoughts on same-sex marriage.

It was quite the eye-opener.

Mr Katter began his rambling address by criticising the debate as "drivel" and noting that no one seems to get married in North Queensland anyway.

"Down in the pub, in the real world, where I live and other people live, I walked into the pub and said, 'Bobby, I'm going bush, mate, before they make it compulsory,' and everyone roared laughing. But you don't live in that world. You don't live in that world where real people live. You live down here, where you listen to this incredible concoction of drivel."

Mr Katter said he had been accused of being anti-homosexual but said people should read his book ("only $29 at all best-selling bookshops") which mentioned a "humorous" story about a homosexual friend.

In another strange twist he then acknowledged he was not proud of his party being considered an anti-homosexual party.

"As a party - and I am not particularly proud of this - we started out our life with an advertisement, which was a most unpleasant advertisement. I agreed to it, so I will take the blame, along with everyone else. It established us as a very anti-homosexual party."

Despite the admission, Mr Katter then went on to brag about how high the party's vote had been in the Queensland election.

He later started rambling about genetics, AIDS and the "vanishing race".

Bob Katter. Picture Gary Ramage
Bob Katter. Picture Gary Ramage

"The people advocating this proposition tonight, the LGBTIs, have maybe 60 years on their side. I have 3.5 million years of genetic programming on my side, because we human beings, they tell us, have been around for 3.5 million years," he said.

"One thing that is absolutely certain is that we've all developed from heterosexual couples. That is one thing we know absolutely - up until the last 40 years, anyway.

"So, genetically, we are programmed that way."

Mr Katter asked why Australia continuously had the highest male juvenile suicide rates in the world.

"There is something going wrong here. We have an extraordinary incidence of homosexual behaviour in Australia compared with other nations."

Then made extraordinary allegations about children getting AIDS.

"You talk about equality. They wanted equality in the giving of blood. They said, 'We as homosexuals have a right to give blood,' so they did, and I think 72 children were injected with AIDS from the blood that was given. It was hushed up. It was amazing to me that it never got any publicity at all."

His bizarre address hit its zenith when Mr Katter started talking about Australia being a vanishing race.

"Mr Deputy Speaker, there is an ultimate statement upon a race of people, and that is that they simply vanish from the gene pool.

"If you take out my cousin-brothers, the First Australians, and if you take out the migrant population in Australia - recent migrants - then we have the lowest birthrate on earth.

"We are a vanishing race. Bob Birrell, the demographer from Melbourne, wrote an article in which he said that the current population of Australia is 22 million and within 100 years the population of Australia will be 7,000. I thought, 'This is ridiculous!' I went down to check it in the library. He said that when 20 Australians die they're replaced by only 17 people, and if that happened five times over a century then we would go from 21 million or 22 million people - whatever it was at the time - down to seven million people."

At this point, Leader of the House of Representatives, Christopher Pyne interjected: "Bobby, this is rubbish".

Katter retorted: "I don't know; you might be a member of the vanishing race. You'd better shut up because you will be shortly if I lose my temper. I finally conclude on this - "

At which point Deputy Speaker Mark Coulton finally broke in: "Order! The member's time has expired."

To read the entire speech, click here.

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