The majority voted against a motion to read the Marriage Amendment Bill 2012 for a second time. This means that the majority of members reject the main idea of the bill, which was to recognise same-sex marriages.

This means that the bill will not considered any further.

Debate in Parliament

The bill was introduced by Labor Party MP Stephen Jones as a private member’s bill.

Jones MP said that he was guided by the fact that “a majority of Australians are in favour of the changes contained within this bill” as well as “the human right not to be discriminated against on the grounds of sexuality”.(Read Jones MP's contribution here. ) He explained that in 2011 the Australian Labour Party changed its policy to allow its members to make a conscience vote on any legislation that legalised same-sex marriage, which is what occurred in this case.(Read Jones MP's explanation here. )

As the Labor Party called for a conscience vote on this issue, Labor members were split for and against the bill with the majority voting in favour.

Although the Liberal Party did not explicitly allow its members a conscience vote, the Liberal Party’s Luke Simpkins MP said that a conscience vote was “always” an option for Liberal members.(Read Simpkins MP's contribution here. ) However, the Liberal Party still uniformly voted against the bill.

Several members who opposed the bill argued that the current marriage law is not discriminatory. For example, the Liberal Party’s Stuart Robert MP referred to family law expert Professor Patrick Parkinson’s submission to the Senate inquiry into marriage equality that “functional equality has already been achieved” in Australian law for registered same-sex unions.(Read Robert MP's contribution here. )

Background to the Bill

The Marriage Amendment Bill 2012 was introduced into the House of Representatives on the same day as the Marriage Equality Amendment Bill 2012, which was co-sponsored by the Greens Party MP Adam Bandt and Independent MP Andrew Wilkie. There was also a similar bill being considered in the Senate, called the Marriage Equality Amendment Bill 2010, which had been introduced by Greens Party Senator Sarah Hanson-Young. Despite containing different language and writing styles, all three bills aimed to allow people to marry regardless of sex.(Read more about these three bills in the bills digest.)


Votes Not passed by a modest majority

Nobody rebelled against their party.

Party Votes
Adam Bandt Melbourne Australian Greens Yes
Australian Labor Party (91% turnout) 38 Yes 26 No
Anthony Albanese Grayndler Yes
Sharon Bird Cunningham Yes
Gai Brodtmann Canberra Yes
Mark Butler Port Adelaide Yes
Nick Champion Wakefield Yes
Darren Cheeseman Corangamite Yes
Jason Clare Blaxland Yes
Julie Collins Franklin Yes
Greg Combet Charlton Yes
Simon Crean Hotham Yes
Mark Dreyfus Isaacs Yes
Justine Elliot Richmond Yes
Kate Ellis Adelaide Yes
Peter Garrett Kingsford Smith Yes
Steve Georganas Hindmarsh Yes
Steve Gibbons Bendigo Yes
Gary Gray Brand Yes
Sharon Grierson Newcastle Yes
Alan Griffin Bruce Yes
Jill Hall Shortland Yes
Harry Jenkins Scullin Yes
Stephen Jones Throsby Yes
Mike Kelly Eden-Monaro Yes
Catherine King Ballarat Yes
Kirsten Livermore Capricornia Yes
Jenny Macklin Jagajaga Yes
Richard Marles Corio Yes
Melissa Parke Fremantle Yes
Graham Perrett Moreton Yes
Tanya Plibersek Sydney Yes
Amanda Rishworth Kingston Yes
Nicola Roxon Gellibrand Yes
Janelle Saffin Page Yes
Bill Shorten Maribyrnong Yes
Sid Sidebottom Braddon Yes
Stephen Smith Perth Yes
Laura Smyth La Trobe Yes
Warren Snowdon Lingiari Yes
Dick Adams Lyons No
Chris Bowen McMahon No
David Bradbury Lindsay No
Tony Burke Watson No
Anthony Byrne Holt No
Yvette D'Ath Petrie No
Craig Emerson Rankin No
Joel Fitzgibbon Hunter No
Julia Gillard Lalor No
Chris Hayes Fowler No
Ed Husic Chifley No
Geoff Lyons Bass No
Robert McClelland Barton No
Daryl Melham Banks No
John Murphy Reid No
Shayne Neumann Blair No
Deborah O'Neill Robertson No
Julie Owens Parramatta No
Bernie Ripoll Oxley No
Michelle Rowland Greenway No
Kevin Rudd Griffith No
Wayne Swan Lilley No
Mike Symon Deakin No
Kelvin Thomson Wills No
Maria Vamvakinou Calwell No
Tony Zappia Makin No
Michael Danby Melbourne Ports Absent
Laurie Ferguson Werriwa Absent
Martin Ferguson Batman Absent
Andrew Leigh Fraser Absent
Rob Mitchell McEwen Absent
Brendan O'Connor Gorton Absent
Natasha Griggs Solomon Country Liberal Party No
Anna Burke Chisholm Deputy Speaker Absent
Robert Oakeshott Lyne Independent Yes
Craig Thomson Dobell Independent Yes
Andrew Wilkie Denison Independent Yes
Bob Katter Kennedy Independent No
Tony Windsor New England Independent No
Bob Katter Kennedy Katter's Australian Party Absent
Liberal Party (97% turnout) 0 Yes 57 No
Tony Abbott Warringah No
John Alexander Bennelong No
Karen Andrews McPherson No
Kevin Andrews Menzies No
Bob Baldwin Paterson No
Bruce Billson Dunkley No
Bronwyn Bishop Mackellar No
Julie Bishop Curtin No
Jamie Briggs Mayo No
Russell Broadbent McMillan No
Scott Buchholz Wright No
Steven Ciobo Moncrieff No
Peter Dutton Dickson No
Warren Entsch Leichhardt No
Paul Fletcher Bradfield No
Josh Frydenberg Kooyong No
Teresa Gambaro Brisbane No
Joanna Gash Gilmore No
Alex Hawke Mitchell No
Joe Hockey North Sydney No
Greg Hunt Flinders No
Steve Irons Swan No
Dennis Jensen Tangney No
Ewen Jones Herbert No
Michael Keenan Stirling No
Craig Kelly Hughes No
Andrew Laming Bowman No
Sussan Ley Farrer No
Ian Macfarlane Groom No
Nola Marino Forrest No
Louise Markus Macquarie No
Russell Matheson Macarthur No
Sophie Mirabella Indi No
Scott Morrison Cook No
Judi Moylan Pearce No
Kelly O'Dwyer Higgins No
Jane Prentice Ryan No
Christopher Pyne Sturt No
Rowan Ramsey Grey No
Don Randall Canning No
Andrew Robb Goldstein No
Stuart Robert Fadden No
Wyatt Roy Longman No
Philip Ruddock Berowra No
Alby Schultz Hume No
Patrick Secker Barker No
Tony Smith Casey No
Alex Somlyay Fairfax No
Andrew Southcott Boothby No
Sharman Stone Murray No
Dan Tehan Wannon No
Alan Tudge Aston No
Malcolm Turnbull Wentworth No
Bert Van Manen Forde No
Ross Vasta Bonner No
Mal Washer Moore No
Ken Wyatt Hasluck No
Barry Haase Durack Absent
Luke Simpkins Cowan Absent
National Party (100% turnout) 0 Yes 12 No
Darren Chester Gippsland No
George Christensen Dawson No
John Cobb Calare No
Mark Coulton Parkes No
Tony Crook O'Connor No
John Forrest Mallee No
Luke Hartsuyker Cowper No
Michael McCormack Riverina No
Paul Neville Hinkler No
Ken O'Dowd Flynn No
Bruce Scott Maranoa No
Warren Truss Wide Bay No
Peter Slipper Fisher Speaker Absent
Totals (93% turnout) 42 Yes – 98 No