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representatives vote 2017-12-07#6

Edited by mackay

on 2018-03-28 15:38:03

Title

  • Bills — Marriage Amendment (Definition and Religious Freedoms) Bill 2017; Consideration in Detail
  • Marriage Amendment (Definition and Religious Freedoms) Bill 2017 - Consideration in Detail - Charities

Description

  • <p class="speaker">Tony Smith</p>
  • <p><i>(In division)</i> If it suits the House, I'll make a few remarks while the division is being counted. To members in the public gallery and the Speaker's gallery, noise from the galleries is disorderly, but you will have noticed that at the end of certain divisions today I've been very tolerant, given the historic nature of the legislation before the House. It's very important that members of parliament here in the House of Representatives are able to make their contributions without noise or interjections coming from the public gallery. Every member has that right on behalf of their electorates. So I would ask people who are in the gallery to refrain.</p>
  • <p class="speaker">Andrew Broad</p>
  • The majority voted against [amendments](https://www.openaustralia.org.au/debate/?id=2017-12-07.136.1) introduced by Nationals MP [Andrew Broad](https://theyvoteforyou.org.au/people/representatives/mallee/andrew_broad), which means they failed.
  • ### What were the amendments?
  • Broad MP [explained that](https://www.openaustralia.org.au/debate/?id=2017-12-07.136.30):
  • > *This amendment simply seeks to broaden the act that allows faith based schools and faith based churches to determine that the people who are in their employment are consistent with their beliefs. It attempts to broaden that to faith based organisations. Any attempt to diminish the rights of faith based organisations ultimately diminishes society.*
  • ### Why did some Coalition MPs vote Yes and others No?
  • The Coalition was split on this issue, with some voting Yes and others voting No. This split within the party is unusual but, given the nature of the subject matter of the vote, the Coalition decided to run this as a free vote, meaning that its members could vote however they chose rather than having to vote along party lines.
  • ### What does this bill do?
  • This [bill](http://parlinfo.aph.gov.au/parlInfo/search/display/display.w3p;query=Id:legislation/billhome/s1099) will allow same-sex couples to marry under Australian law. However, it will also:
  • > *enable ministers of religion, religious marriage celebrants, chaplains and bodies established for religious purposes to refuse to solemnise or provide facilities, goods and services for marriages on religious grounds; and make amendments ... to provide that a refusal by a minister of religion, religious marriage celebrant or chaplain to solemnise marriage in prescribed circumstances does not constitute unlawful discrimination.*
  • Read more in the [bills digest](https://www.aph.gov.au/Parliamentary_Business/Bills_Legislation/bd/bd1718a/18bd054).
  • <p>by leave&#8212;I move amendments (2), (7), (8) and (9), as circulated in my name, together:</p>
  • <p class="italic">(2) Clause 2, page 2 (table item 5), omit "Part 5", substitute "Parts 4A, 4B, 4C and 5".</p>
  • <p class="italic">(7) Schedule 1, page 19 (after line 13), after Part 4, insert:</p>
  • <p class="italic"> Part 4A&#8212;Amendment of the Charities Act 2013</p>
  • <p class="italic"> <i>Charities Act 2013</i></p>
  • <p class="italic">68A After subsection 12(3)</p>
  • <p class="italic">Insert:</p>
  • <p class="italic">(4) For the purposes of this section, disregard the fact that an entity is, or has been, a body established for religious purposes within the meaning of section 37 of the <i>Sex Discrimination Act 1984</i>.</p>
  • <p class="italic">Note 1: For example, a body that has a purpose of advancing social or public welfare may be registered under subparagraph (1) (c) regardless of whether it is a body established to advance religion under section 37 of the <i>Sex Discrimination Act 1984</i>. It may be both a body that has a purpose of advancing social or public welfare and a body established for religious purposes under section 37 of the <i>Sex Discrimination Act 1984</i>, but for the purposes of paragraph (1) (c) regard is not had to its status under section 37 of the <i>Sex Discrimination Act 1984</i>.</p>
  • <p class="italic">Note 2: For example, a body that has a purpose of advancing religion may be registered under paragraph (1) (d) regardless of whether it is a body established to advance religion under section 37 of the <i>Sex Discrimination Act 1984</i>. It may be both a body that has a purpose of advancing religion under paragraph (1) (d) and a body established for religious purposes under section 37 of the <i>Sex Discrimination Act 1984</i>, but for the purposes of paragraph (1) (d) regard is not had to its status under section 37 of the <i>Sex Discrimination Act 1984</i>.</p>
  • <p class="italic">(8) Schedule 1, page 19 (after proposed Part 4A), insert:</p>
  • <p class="italic">Part 4B&#8212;Amendment of the Income Tax Assessment Act 1997</p>
  • <p class="italic"> <i>Income Tax Assessment Act 1997</i></p>
  • <p class="italic">68B After subsection 30 -320</p>
  • <p class="italic">Insert:</p>
  • <p class="italic">30 -325 Bodies established for religious purposes</p>
  • <p class="italic">A fund, authority or institution does not fail to satisfy the requirements for endorsement under Division 30 of this Act for the reason that the fund, authority or institution is, or has been, a body established for religious purposes within the meaning of section 37 of the <i>Sex Discrimination Act 1984</i>.</p>
  • <p class="italic">(9) Schedule 1, page 19 (after proposed Part 4B), insert:</p>
  • <p class="italic">Part 4C&#8212;Amendment of the Fringe Benefits Tax Assessment Act 1986</p>
  • <p class="italic"> <i>Fringe Benefits Tax Assessment Act 1986</i></p>
  • <p class="italic">68C After subsection 123C(2)</p>
  • <p class="italic">Insert:</p>
  • <p class="italic">(3) An entity does not fail to satisfy the requirements for endorsement in subsection (2) for the reason that the entity is, or has been, a body established for religious purposes within the meaning of section 37 of the <i>Sex Discrimination Act 1984</i>.</p>
  • <p class="italic">68D After subsection 123D(2)</p>
  • <p class="italic">Insert:</p>
  • <p class="italic">(3) An entity does not fail to satisfy the requirements for endorsement in subsection (2) for the reason that the entity is, or has been, a body established for religious purposes within the meaning of section 37 of the <i>Sex Discrimination Act 1984</i>.</p>
  • <p>I promise not to mention electric guitars in my speech! Faith based organisations are organisations that come from people who have a deep conviction and intend to live out their conviction in a practical way. I share the story, which actually started off some of the faith based organisations, of a woman who had been judged significantly, so significantly that she was about to be executed. A guy intervened&#8212;</p>
  • <p class="speaker">Tony Smith</p>
  • <p>I just ask the member for Mallee&#8212;I apologise&#8212;if he could resume his seat for a second. Could members leave the chamber if they're intending to do so or sit down in the chamber. Those who are here are here to hear the contributions. The member for Mallee has the call.</p>
  • <p class="speaker">Andrew Broad</p>
  • <p>I share the story of a guy who intervened and a girl who was about to get killed. She was about to get stoned for an action that she had taken, because she was caught in the act of adultery. He stood between her and the crowd. He looked at the crowd. He hopped down on the ground, and he wrote something on the ground. He picked up a stone, and he said, 'He who is without sin, throw the first stone.' The older people left first, then the younger people left, then there was no-one there. And he said: 'No-one's here to throw a stone. No-one judges you. Well, I don't judge you either.'</p>
  • <p>You wonder why I tell that story. I want to tell you why. It is because people who are motivated by their faith get involved in action. Faith based organisations are not judging organisations. They are in fact the spearhead of good. In 1967, when they had a referendum to give rights to the Indigenous population, what did the government do after that? They set aside reserves on the outskirts of towns so that, when the station people, the Indigenous people, had to move off because they were now due for the minimum wage and move into the outskirts of town, they had somewhere to go. That was the government's response. I'll tell you a little bit about my parents' response, motivated by faith. They lived in a tin shed and worked with the Aboriginal community to make sure people's livelihoods were looked after.</p>
  • <p>Faith based organisations are always the cutting edge, ahead of government, to deliver social services&#8212;</p>
  • <p>An honourable member: Abolishing slavery.</p>
  • <p>to abolish slavery. You know, David Livingstone opened up Africa. All we ask is that faith based organisations have the right to decide who is in the management and employment of those faith based organisations&#8212;the right to reflect those views. On tax law: the faith based charities should be exempt under antidiscrimination law, and it shouldn't impact their tax endorsements.</p>
  • <p>The freedoms that faith based organisations have provided for the world have been significant. Most of our aid organisations have been faith based organisations. It is imperative that those faith based organisations have the right to decide who they employ. The freedoms of faith based organisations to determine that those who seek to do their work hold similar values are important in a plural and tolerant society. What we do not want to see is people who attempt to litigate against faith based organisations on the grounds that they feel discriminated against. This amendment simply seeks to broaden the act that allows faith based schools and faith based churches to determine that the people who are in their employment are consistent with their beliefs. It attempts to broaden that to faith based organisations. Any attempt to diminish the rights of faith based organisations ultimately diminishes society.</p>
  • <p>I haven't seen too many people from the LGBTI community&#8212;and this is a challenge for the LGBTI community&#8212;become great social advocates like I have seen religious organisations and religious people be. The people who come into my office and complain about Australia's treatment of refugees are motivated by their Christian faith. That's what I want to say: we must look after people of faith and uphold them. Those faith based organisations should have those laws broadened across to them and that's why this amendment should be supported in this chamber. Thank you.</p>
  • <p class="speaker">Warren Entsch</p>
  • <p>I'll keep this very, very brief. These amendments are totally unnecessary. This is a marriage bill; this is not the time to be changing the Charities Act, the Income Tax Assessment Act or the Fringe Benefits Tax Assessment Act.</p>
  • <p>Religious charities provide essential services for our community&#8212;there's no question about that. And we should recognise their fantastic charitable work. Their charitable status will not be affected by their stance on marriage, in the same way that charities that support marriage equality haven't had their charitable status revoked. The charities commissioner and the tax commissioner both confirmed there's no need for this amendment, so now is not the time to rewrite other laws which have nothing to do with marriage. This bill already strikes the right balance. The Senate voted for it and so should we. Australians have waited long enough for marriage equality. We can deliver it today. Let's get it done!</p>
  • <p class="speaker">Luke Howarth</p>
  • <p>I rise to support the member for Mallee's amendments. I very much agree with what he had to say. Recently, a tribunal held that a large Australian faith based charity, St Vincent De Paul, could not require their president to also be of the same faith or be expected to act consistently with the charity's beliefs. This amendment to the marriage amendment bill will clarify that and, as has always been the intention of the law, faith based charities are to be recognised as religious bodies.</p>
  • <p>When I spoke on the same-sex marriage debate the other day I thanked the member for Leichhardt for his contribution to it, but on this issue I do disagree with him. Ultimately, this law and this bill will affect charitable status. Many of those organisations believe in the traditional view of marriage, that marriage is between a man and a woman. The concern is that, if those religious organisations continue to believe that in the future, what will happen to their charitable status? What will happen to those organisations? If we fast forward 10 years to 2028, what will happen to those people then?</p>
  • <p>Speakers opposite, including the member for Isaacs and so forth, have said, 'Oh, well, we don't need to talk about it here; we don't need to worry about it.' They say that the reason for not debating these bills is because it will delay the passage of same-sex marriage. But the fact is that the Labor Party are not standing up for religious freedoms in this country. The Labor Party are not standing up for individuals and Christian based organisations and charities in this party. In fact, to every person listening to this broadcast: you need to know that the Labor Party have not given their members a free vote. They talk about coming into this place and talk about a free vote, but they have not given their members a free vote.</p>
  • <p>People in my electorate&#8212;Jason from Clontarf&#8212;are concerned that this bill leaves churches, charities and individuals open to a wide range of political and anti-discrimination attack. Jason, I hear you. Mr Young from Bald Hills urged me to fight for additional protections for charities. Well, the Labor Party is not fighting for you. They are not. They come into this place and they say that there's been a free vote. They've been delaying this bill for the last 18 months by not honouring the coalition's strong commitment to having a plebiscite. They voted against it, and they continue to do so.</p>
  • <p>For every religious person, the 70 per cent of people who in the census said that they have a religion, the Labor Party is not fighting for them today. The Labor Party will not stand and be counted. For those electorates like Blaxland, where 73 per cent voted no, the Labor Party won't even give the member for Blaxland a say on issues like this. The member for Watson and the member for McMahon, who voted against same-sex marriage just four or five years ago, do not get a conscience vote on these amendments, nor does the member for Fowler or the member for Calwell. The Labor Party says, 'No, you don't have a right to a conscience vote on these amendments.'</p>
  • <p>For all Australians listening, the fact is that same-sex marriage can be delivered and will be delivered today, but it could have been delivered with sensible amendments in place. The Labor Party are running scared. They ran scared of the Australian people by not allowing a conscience vote straight up, and now they won't even give their own members sensible amendments in relation to this. It's not good enough. The Labor Party are weak. I will be proud to support these amendments.</p>
  • <p class='motion-notice motion-notice-truncated'>Long debate text truncated.</p>