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senate vote 2017-11-28#5

Edited by mackay

on 2017-12-29 14:48:39


  • Bills — Marriage Amendment (Definition and Religious Freedoms) Bill 2017; in Committee
  • Marriage Amendment (Definition and Religious Freedoms) Bill 2017 - in Committee - Defence chaplains


  • <p class="speaker">Ian Macdonald</p>
  • <p>) ( ): (<i>In division</i>) Madam Chair, perhaps I'm a little late, but, again, can we vote on these amendments separately, because I agree with all but the last of the proposals here?</p>
  • <p>The CHAIR: Just so we're clear, do you mean amendment (10) on sheet 8327?</p>
  • The majority voted against [amendments]( introduced by Liberal Senator [David Fawcett](, which means they failed.
  • ### What did these amendments do?
  • Senator Fawcett [explained that](
  • > *During the Senate select committee the issue of chaplains in the Defence Force, who have traditionally conducted marriages for servicemen overseas, came up. Whilst the initial discussion went to the fact that they are employees of the government and therefore should just carry out the law according to the civil definition of marriage, what became clear during evidence presented to the Senate select committee was that they are in fact appointed to that role by their respective denominations and therefore should and in fact do enjoy the same exemptions that apply to a minister of religion. That was accepted by the Senate report and indeed accepted by Senator Smith in his bill.*
  • > *The workaround that the committee decided on was that the Chief of the Defence Force, if he had a force deployed overseas, should be able to appoint an officer to conduct weddings if there was a member of the Defence Force overseas who was going to get married. The purpose of this amendment is purely to recognise that, just as the Defence Force when it appoints somebody makes sure they have the relevant competence to do the task, the individual officer has the same human right under article 18 to their freedom of religion and belief. Therefore, the practical effect of this amendment would be that, before the CDF made that appointment, they would ask the officer concerned if they were happy to conduct same-sex weddings. If they were, the appointment would go ahead. If they weren't, because they do have that individual right to freedom of religion and belief, the CDF would make the appointment of another officer who was happy to do that.*
  • > *As the bill currently stands, the CDF can make that appointment without taking regard of the individual's conscientious objection. Bear in mind that, unlike someone who works in a registry office, where this is the purpose they were employed for, in this case the officer of the Defence Force is employed in either the Air Force, the Navy or the Army for the primary purpose of conducting military operations, and this is a secondary duty. So the operational effect of this amendment would be that the Defence chief would need to check that the officer they wanted to appoint was happy to conduct same-sex marriage, and in that case that person would be appointed.*
  • ### Why did some Liberals vote Yes and others No?
  • The Liberal Party 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 Liberal Party 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](;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](
  • <p>The right to remove children from schools. I do agree with that, but not in this bill.</p>
  • <p>The CHAIR: As I understand it, Senator Macdonald, it is clause 88R within amendment (8). You would need to seek leave because we are now in the division.</p>
  • <p>I seek leave to have that one voted on separately.</p>
  • <p>The CHAIR: Yes, you need the leave of the committee. Is leave granted? Sorry, Senator Macdonald, leave is not granted.</p>
  • <p>I didn't hear that, Madam Chair. Did someone refuse?</p>
  • <p>The CHAIR: Yes, Senator Macdonald. As you know, only the one voice is required, and there was at least one voice. Before returning to further amendments, I want to address the point of order taken by Senator Macdonald when the committee reported prior to question time.</p>
  • <p>It is appropriate for me, as Chair of Committees, to rule on points of order in relation to committee proceedings, although I appreciate that the timing of the proceedings meant it was opportune of Senator Macdonald to raise the issue when he did. Senator Macdonald had sought to have the question dealt with before question time further divided for a group of amendments before the committee on which the committee had already proceeded to divide. As noted in <i>Odgers</i><i>'</i><i> Australian Senate Practice</i> at page 283:</p>
  • <p class="italic">In practice, the chair divides a question &#8230; at the request of any senator, so that no senator is compelled to vote for or against two or more proposals in relation to which they may wish to vote differently.</p>
  • <p>It can be difficult to implement that practice, however, where the request to divide a question is not made prior to the question being put by the Chair. In addition, it is not possible for the Chair to divide a question once a division has been called on the original question unless leave is granted to call off the division. This is provided for in standing order 99(3).</p>
  • <p>As has now become clear, Senator Macdonald wished to vote differently on one amendment, which I understand has now been identified as amendment (7) on sheet 8326. As the question in relation to the amendment has now been determined, the vote cannot be put again except by leave. After my discussions earlier with Senator Macdonald, however, it is my intention to give Senator Macdonald the call, if he so wishes, so that he has an opportunity now to indicate on the record how he would have voted differently. Senator Macdonald, do you wish to take the call?</p>
  • <p>Thank you, Madam Chair. I appreciate the courtesy and also the courtesy of you speaking to me before. I think you indicated that, by leave, I could call for the vote to be reheld, but clearly it would haven't made any difference to the outcome. I did in taking the point of order make my point clear, but I appreciate the opportunity to make it absolutely clear on the previous set of amendments. The amendment dealing with the definition of marriage I would have voted against but for the other provisions, and that's why I wanted them divided. Similarly, while I'm on my feet, can I say in relation to the ones we've just dealt with now that, whilst I agree with the last of the amendments&#8212;about giving parents the right to take children out of school&#8212;I don't think it's appropriate in this legislation, so I would have voted against that on this legislation if we could have put the vote again. But the Labor Party refused leave to put the vote again, and so I've had to vote against all of those. That's probably not what I would have done had it been possible to divide them. Thank you for the opportunity, Chair.</p>
  • <p class="speaker">David Fawcett</p>
  • <p>I rise to address the amendments on sheet 8328, which should be fairly uncontroversial, I would hope. During the Senate select committee, the issue of chaplains&#8212;</p>
  • <p class="speaker">Honourable Senators</p>
  • <p>Honourable senators interjecting&#8212;</p>
  • <p class="speaker">Cory Bernardi</p>
  • <p>Could you resume a seat for a moment, Senator Fawcett. Honourable senators, I would ask that, if you have concluded your business in the chamber for the moment, you hastily make for the exists and keep your private conversations to a minimum. Before I call Senator Fawcett again, I perhaps might invite him to seek leave to move the amendments together if that were his wish.</p>
  • <p class='motion-notice motion-notice-truncated'>Long debate text truncated.</p>