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representatives vote 2016-10-20#2

Edited by mackay

on 2016-10-21 21:17:29

Title

  • Bills — Plebiscite (Same-Sex Marriage) Bill 2016; Second Reading
  • Plebiscite (Same-Sex Marriage) Bill 2016 - Second Reading - Free vote in Parliament

Description

  • <p class="speaker">Tony Smith</p>
  • <p>The original question was that this bill be now read a second time. To this the honourable Leader of the Opposition has moved as an amendment that all words after 'That' be omitted with a view to substituting other words. The immediate question now is that the amendment be agreed to.</p>
  • The majority voted against an [amendment](http://www.openaustralia.org.au/debates/?id=2016-10-11.107.1) introduced by Opposition Leader [Bill Shorten](https://theyvoteforyou.org.au/people/representatives/maribyrnong/bill_shorten), which means it was unsuccessful.
  • ### What was the amendment?
  • The House was being asked to vote on the bill's main idea (that is, they were voting on whether to give the bill a [second reading](http://www.peo.gov.au/learning/fact-sheets/making-a-law.html)). The [main idea of the bill](http://www.aph.gov.au/Parliamentary_Business/Bills_Legislation/bd/bd1617a/17bd022) is to make it possible for the government to hold a national plebiscite to ask Australians *"Should the law be changed to allow same-sex couples to marry?"*
  • Shorten's amendment would have changed that question of whether to agree to the bill's main idea so that the House would instead be asked whether they agreed that
  • > *this bill be withdrawn and redrafted to legislate for marriage equality and that the House calls on the Government to afford all members of parliament a [free vote](http://www.peo.gov.au/learning/fact-sheets/crossing-the-floor.html)*
  • ### What does this amendment mean?
  • Shorten was against holding a same sex marriage plebiscite and instead wanted to have a [free vote](http://www.peo.gov.au/learning/fact-sheets/crossing-the-floor.html) in the House on the question of whether to allow same sex marriage.
  • ### What is a free vote?
  • The [Parliamentary Education Office](http://www.peo.gov.au/learning/fact-sheets/crossing-the-floor.html) explains that a free vote (or conscience vote):
  • > *means that members of parliament are not obliged to vote with their party; instead, they can vote according to their own beliefs ... Each parliamentary party decides if its members are allowed a conscience vote on a particular issue.*
  • > *A conscience vote may be held in order to prevent members of parliament [crossing the floor](http://www.peo.gov.au/learning/fact-sheets/crossing-the-floor.html) [or 'rebelling'] on a controversial issue which may otherwise cause embarrassment to the team, or to allow members of parliament to express their own strongly-held beliefs.*
  • ### What is a national plebiscite?
  • The [bills digest](http://www.aph.gov.au/Parliamentary_Business/Bills_Legislation/bd/bd1617a/17bd022) explains that:
  • > *a national plebiscite is a vote by citizens on any subject of national significance but which does not affect the Constitution. Plebiscites are normally advisory and do not compel a government to act on the outcome. There have only been three national plebiscites—two on conscription during World War I (both defeated) and one on the choice of a National Song in 1977.*
  • ### Why don't some supporters of marriage equality support this bill?
  • [Several parties and independents](http://www.abc.net.au/news/2016-08-29/same-sex-marriage-plebiscite-explainer/7794070) oppose this bill for two main reasons: cost and concern that a plebiscite could [harm members of the LGBTI community](http://www.abc.net.au/news/2016-10-12/same-sex-marriage-debate's-impact-on-lgbti-people/7924480).