Let’s hear it for the teens
Tony Abbott foreshadows amendment fight
In a statement on Facebook Tony Abbott, whose seat of Warringah voted 75% for same-sex marriage, has said that “the people have spoken and the parliament should respect the result”.
Abbott then immediately starts piling the pressure on to modify the cross-party bill authored by Dean Smith noting that Malcolm Turnbull and Bill Shorten have “pledged their support for freedom of religion.
“I also thank the 4.7 million Australians who supported marriage between a man and a woman. Both the Prime Minister and the Opposition Leader have pledged their support for freedom of religion.
I look forward to a parliamentary process that improves on the Dean Smith bill to implement same sex marriage with freedom of conscience for all, not just the churches. So far, this process has been a credit to us as a nation and now needs to be completed in a way that keeps us the best country in the world.”
The yes vote has presented the Coalition with a potentially damaging choice between two bills to make same-sex marriage lawful. One is proposed by moderate Liberal, Dean Smith, and another from James Paterson, which has the backing of conservatives. We think the debate will take place in the week of 27 November.
Conservative senators Eric Abetz and Matt Canavan have expressed support for Paterson’s bill. Paterson’s bill is designed to give greater religious protections for those who don’t want to provide goods or services to same-sex weddings. Bakers or florists, for example, could refuse to do work for same-sex weddings. Lyle Shelton, speaking at the no campaign event, has just described Paterson’s bill as a “very good bill”. He said it gives protections from threats to freedom of speech and religion.
Conservative Mathias Cormann spoke earlier. He said the Smith bill is a good place to start, but he wants amendments to improve religious protections.
“I believe the Smith bill is a good starting point and indeed a number of senators have given notices that they will seek to introduce the Smith bill into the Senate this afternoon,” he said. “I do believe that there is a need for some additional religious protections. I am not going to go into the specifics today.”
Malcolm Turnbull has promised to get the bill through by Christmas. But he now faces a tough task in attempting to broker a compromise between factions inside the Coalition.
Australian Christian Lobby’s Lyle Shelton, seeking to interpret the result, has said the yes side has “been campaigning for many, many years”, as opposed to the no side, which has only had three months.
Shelton said he respects the results, but: “Three months wasn’t long enough to overturn 10 years or more [of yes campaigning].”
He said the no side had been highly successful in the short time it had.
“We know that we’ve shifted at least 1m votes, it wasn’t enough to get over the line at the end of the day,” he said.