How Ron Boswell voted compared to someone who believes that the Federal Government should amend the Marriage Act 1961 so that same-sex couples can marry under Australian law

Division Ron Boswell Supporters vote Division outcome

20th Jun 2013, 11:28 AM – Senate Marriage Act Amendment (Recognition of Foreign Marriages for Same-Sex Couples) Bill 2013 - Second Reading - Agree with bill's main idea

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The majority rejected the bill’s main idea (in parliamentary jargon, they voted against giving the bill a second reading). This means the bill failed and won’t be debated anymore.

The bill’s main idea was that Australian law should recognise all marriages that are legal overseas, including same-sex marriages.

Rebellion and a free vote

Liberal Senator Sue Boyce was a rebel and agreed with the bill’s main idea while the rest of the Liberal Party disagreed with it.

The Labor Party treated this division as a free vote so Labor senators could vote for or against it.

Background to the bill

Same-sex marriage is not legal or recognised in Australia so homosexual couples who marry overseas are not considered married here.

Greens Senator Sarah Hanson-Young introduced this bill two months after New Zealand became the latest country to allow same-sex marriage (more information on Wikipedia).

ABC News reported the result of this division.

No Yes (strong) Not passed by a small majority

7th Feb 2013, 12:22 PM – Senate Motions - UK Marriage Equality Legislation - Congratulate UK PM

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The majority voted against a motion to congratulate the UK Prime Minister David Cameron "for his leadership in passing historic marriage equality legislation through the House of Commons".

Despite the motion's wording, the UK same-sex marriage legislation is actually still being considered by the House of Commons. But a large majority did recently vote in favour of the main idea of the bill (that is, they voted to read it for a second time).

Greens Party Senator Sarah Hanson-Young introduced the motion.

Background to the motion

The Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Bill 2013 (UK) was introduced into the House of Commons by the UK Government on 24 January 2013. Its purpose is to legalise same-sex marriage in England and Wales.

Although same-sex couples in the United Kingdom can already have their relationships recognised as a civil partnership, they cannot legally marry.

In Australia, same-sex marriage is illegal but there have been several recent attempts to pass legislation to legalise it.

absent Yes Not passed by a modest majority

11th Oct 2012, 12:11 PM – Senate Motions – State-based Marriage Equality Legislation – No Commonwealth challenge

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The majority voted against a motion to ask the Gillard Government to “rule out a Commonwealth challenge of any state-based marriage equality legislation”. This means that the majority believe that the Government should be able to challenge state same-sex marriage laws in the High Court.

Greens Party Senator Sarah Hanson-Young introduced the motion.

Background to the motion

Two weeks ago, the Tasmanian Legislative Council voted against a bill that would have made Tasmania the first state to recognise same-sex marriage in Australia. Members who opposed the bill were concerned that it may not be constitutionally valid because it was inconsistent with Commonwealth marriage law. And their main concern was the potential cost of a Commonwealth challenge against the bill (see ABC News).

Professor Anne Twomey gives a good discussion of the bill's constitutional issues.

No Yes Not passed by a modest majority

20th Sep 2012, 4:15 PM – Senate Marriage Amendment Bill (No. 2) 2012 - Second Reading - Read a second time

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The majority voted in favour of a motion to read the Marriage Amendment Bill (No. 2) 2012 for a second time. This means that the majority of senators reject the main idea of the bill, which was to recognise same-sex marriages.

This means that the bill will not be considered any further.

Debate in Parliament

This bill was introduced as a private senator’s bill by Labor Party Senator Patricia Crossin. It had the support of the Greens Party. The Labor Party was given a conscience vote on it, resulting in Labor senators voting both for and against. The Liberal Party uniformly opposed it.

A key feature of the debate was disagreement as to whether the current marriage law was discriminatory. Supporters of the bill such as Senator Crossin argued that the current law “discriminates against same-sex couples by prohibiting them access to marriage”.(Read Senator Crossin's contribution here. ) Opponents of the bill such as Senator George Brandis disagreed, saying that any discrimination against same-sex couples was removed with bi-partisan support by the Same-Sex Relationships (Equal Treatment in Commonwealth Laws – General Law Reform) Bill 2008 and the Same-Sex Relationships (Equal Treatment in Commonwealth Laws - Superannuation) Bill 2008.(Read Senator Brandis' contribution here. )

Background to the Bill

Senator Crossin, who introduced the bill in the name of herself and three other Labor colleagues, highlighted the unusual nature of this bill. That is, although it is not a government piece of legislation, it is “a piece of legislation that has been moved by four members of a government”.(Read Senator Crossin's contribution here. )

The bill aims to enable same-sex couples to marry under Australian law.(More information about this bill can be found here.) However, a minister of religion would not have been obliged to solemnise a same-sex marriage.

References

No Yes (strong) Not passed by a small majority

21st Nov 2011 – Senate Matters of Urgency - Same-Sex Relationships - Recognise same sex marriage

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The majority voted against a motion introduced by Greens Senator Sarah Hanson-Young on behalf of Greens Senator Rachel Siewert, which means that it was unsuccessful. The motion was:

That, in the opinion of the Senate, the following is a matter of urgency:

The recognition that an increasing majority of the Australian community supports marriage equality and believes it is time for the federal parliament to amend the Marriage Act to provide for this.(Read more about the recognition of same-sex marriage in Australia here.)

References

No Yes Not passed by a modest majority

11th Oct 2011 – Senate Motions - Same-Sex Relationships - Marriage

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The majority voted against a motion introduced by Greens Senator Sarah Hanson-Young. This means that the motion is rejected.

The motion was:

That the Senate-

(a)   notes the recent motion passed by the Tasmanian Parliament regarding same-sex marriage that stated that the House:(Read about that vote here. Read more about same-sex marriage recognition is Australia here.)

(i)   supports marriage equality, and

(ii)   calls on the Parliament of the Commonwealth of Australia to amend the Commonwealth Marriage Act 1961 to provide for marriage equality; and

(b)   accepts the call for marriage equality.

References

No Yes (strong) Not passed by a modest majority

5th Jul 2011 – Senate Motions - Same-Sex Relationships - Support marriage equality

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The majority voted against a motion introduced by Greens Senator Sarah Hanson-Young. This means that the motion is rejected.

The motion was:

That the Senate-

(a)   notes that:

(i)   the New York State Congress has legislated for marriage equality, and(Read more about same-sex marriage in New York here. )

(ii)   in doing so, New York has joined the following states of the United States of America, Massachusetts, California, Connecticut, Iowa, Vermont, Washington DC and New Hampshire, along with more than 10 other nations;(See here for more information about the legal status of same-sex marriage around the world.)

(b)   recognises that Australia is one of only a few democratic nations that does not provide same-sex couples with equal marriage rights; and

(c)   calls on the Government to support marriage equality for all Australian citizens.

References

No Yes (strong) Not passed by a modest majority

25th Feb 2010, 4:05 PM – Senate Marriage Equality Amendment Bill 2009 - Second Reading - Read a second time

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The majority voted against a motion to read the bill for a second time.

This means that the majority of senators reject the main idea of the bill, which is to allow marriage regardless of sex, sexuality and gender identity

Someone who voted Aye supports the main idea of the bill. Since the majority voted No, the bill will not considered any further.

Debate in Parliament

Greens Senator Sarah Hanson-Young introduced the bill as a private member's bill. She argued that the bill would remove “the discrimination that currently exists within the Marriage Act”.

Both the Labor Government and the Coalition Opposition opposed this bill, arguing that the current marriage law was not discriminatory.

Background to the Bill

The Marriage Equality Amendment Bill 2009 was introduced at a time when Australian states and territories are establishing relationship registration and civil partnership schemes for same-sex couples. At the time of this division, such schemes have been established in Victoria, Tasmania, the Australian Capital Territory and New South Wales. However, Senator Hanson-Young argues that these schemes are insufficient and “fall short of equal legal recognition”.

No Yes (strong) Not passed by a large majority

26th Nov 2009, 10:32 AM – Senate Motions - Civil Partnerships - ACT bill

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The majority voted against a motion introduced by Greens Senator Sarah Hanson-Young. This means that the motion was rejected.

The motion was:

That the Senate- (a) notes the recent passing by the Australian Capital Territory Legislative Assembly of the Civil Partnerships Amendment Bill 2009; and(Read more about same-sex marriage and civil partnerships in the Australia Capital Territory here ) (b) congratulates the first couple to hold a legally-recognised ceremony in the Australian Capital Territory, Mr Warren McGaw and Mr Chris Rumble, who on 25 November 2009 celebrated their love and commitment in front of family and friends.(Read more about the ceremony on the ABC here.)

References

No Yes Not passed by a large majority

26th Nov 2009, 10:27 AM – Senate Motions - National Year of Action on Marriage Equality

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The majority voted against a motion introduced by Greens Senator Sarah Hanson-Young. This means that the motion was rejected.

The motion was:

That the Senate notes that Saturday, 28 November 2009 marks the start of the National Year of Action on Marriage Equality and that rallies will be held in capital cities across the country.(Read more about the planned rallies here.)

References

No Yes Not passed by a large majority

12th Nov 2008, 6:53 PM – Senate Same-Sex Relationships (Equal Treatment in Commonwealth Laws - General Law Reform) Bill 2008 - In Committee - Legalise same-sex marriage

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The majority voted against Greens amendment (1), which would have changed the Marriage Act to legalise same-sex marriage if it had been successful.

Greens Senator Sarah Hanson-Young explained that:

This amendment deals with amending the Marriage Act to ensure that in this particular bill, which is the general law reform bill, we enable same-sex couples and opposite-sex couples to have the same rights and entitlements as each other. There is one glaring omission from this particular bill, and that is the Marriage Act. I have flagged this numerous times. The Greens have been talking about the need for gay marriage law reform for a long time and this is the appropriate place to do this.

Motion text

(1) Schedule 2, page 21 (after line 16), after item 60, insert:

Marriage Act 1961

60A Section 5 (definition of marriage)

Omit “a man and a woman”, substitute “two persons, regardless of their sexuality or gender identity”.

60B Subsection 47(1)

Omit “a man and a woman”, substitute “two persons, regardless of their sexuality or gender identity”.

absent Yes (strong) Not passed by a large majority

8th Feb 2007, 10:47 AM – Senate Motions - Same-Sex Relationships - ACT legalising same-sex relationships

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The majority voted against a motion introduced by Greens Senator Kerry Nettle. This means that the motion was rejected.

The motion was:

That the Senate notes the right of the Australia Capital Territory Government to legislate for the legal recognition of same-sex relationships.(Read more about the recognition of same-sex unions in the ACT on Wikipedia.)

References

absent Yes Not passed by a small majority

15th Jun 2006, 1:06 PM – Senate Motions - Australian Capital Territory Civil Unions Legislation - Disallow the government's attempt to disallow the legislation

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The majority voted against a motion introduced by Senator Kerry Nettle also on behalf of Senators Joe Ludwig and Natasha Stott Despoja.

The motion was: "That the instrument made by the Governor-General on 13 June 2006 under subsection 35(2) of the Australian Capital Territory (Self-Government) Act 1988, disallowing the Civil Unions Act 2006 (ACT), be disallowed."

This motion would have disallowed the federal government’s intervention in the ACT Civil Unions Act 2006, when the Federal Executive Council told the Governor-General to disallow the Act.(Read more about the Act and the federal government's intervention here. )

Liberal Party Senator Gary Humphries rebelled against his party as he crossed the floor to vote 'aye' with the Opposition.(Read more about what it means to be a rebel in our FAQ Section. )

Background to the motion

The Civil Unions Bill 2006 was introduced "to provide a scheme for two people, regardless of their sex, to enter into a formally recognised union (a civil union) that attracts the same rights and obligations as would attach to married spouses under Territory law."(Read more in the explanatory statement that is available here. ) This bill was passed in the ACT Legislative Assembly on 11 May 2006.(Learn more about the passing of the ACT Bill here on the ABC's PM Program.)

References

No Yes Not passed by a small majority

How "voted strongly against" is worked out

The MP's votes count towards a weighted average where the most important votes get 50 points, less important votes get 10 points, and less important votes for which the MP was absent get 2 points. In important votes the MP gets awarded the full 50 points for voting the same as the policy, 0 points for voting against the policy, and 25 points for not voting. In less important votes, the MP gets 10 points for voting with the policy, 0 points for voting against, and 1 (out of 2) if absent.

Then, the number gets converted to a simple english language phrase based on the range of values it's within.

No of votes Points Out of
Most important votes (50 points)      
MP voted with policy 0 0 0
MP voted against policy 5 0 250
MP absent 1 25 50
Less important votes (10 points)      
MP voted with policy 0 0 0
MP voted against policy 5 0 50
Less important absentees (2 points)      
MP absent* 2 2 4
Total: 27 354

*Pressure of other work means MPs or Senators are not always available to vote – it does not always indicate they have abstained. Therefore, being absent on a less important vote makes a disproportionatly small difference.

Agreement score = MP's points / total points = 27 / 354 = 7.6%.

And then