Julia Gillard Australia’s first female Prime Minister has experienced a lot of misogyny from the opposition parties and the Australian media. In this fifteen minute speech, Prime Minister Gillard blasts the opposition leader Tony Abbott for his hypocrisy and sexism. This is a wonderful take down by Ms. Gillard! However, I find it interesting that Prime Minister Gillard isn’t so vocal about marriage equality or gay rights in Australia? Can’t Ms. Gillard see the similarities between the right to equality for women and for gay people in Australia? Gays and lesbians in Australia deserve to have the same human rights as heterosexuals.
- By Dan Harrison
Indigenous Affairs and Social Affairs Correspondent.
ADVOCATES for legalising same-sex marriage will shift their focus to the state level, after federal MPs yesterday defeated a bill that would have allowed gay couples to marry.
The bill, introduced by Labor backbencher Stephen Jones, was defeated in the House of Representatives 98 votes to 42.
Ten of the 17 cabinet ministers in the lower house, Green Adam Bandt and independents Andrew Wilkie, Rob Oakeshott and Craig Thomson voted for same-sex marriage. All coalition MPs, the Prime Minister, Julia Gillard, the Treasurer, Wayne Swan, and the former prime minister Kevin Rudd voted against the bill.
Channelling another former Labor prime minister, Gough Whitlam, Mr Jones urged campaigners to ”maintain your rage”, while the Australian Christian Lobby leader, Jim Wallace, said it was time for Parliament to ”move on”.
Gay rights activists said they would now look to state and territory parliaments to make the change. ”Now the Federal Parliament has effectively brushed the wishes of a majority of Australians aside, the states and territories will take the lead, making me confident we will see same-sex marriages performed somewhere in Australia by the end of the year,” the Australian Marriage Equality convener Alex Greenwich said.
Tasmania’s lower house passed a bill last month to legalise gay marriage. It must still pass the state’s 15-seat Legislative Council to become law. Efforts to legalise same-sex marriage are also under way in South Australia, the ACT and NSW, where the Premier, Barry O’Farrell, will allow his MPs a free vote.
The University of NSW law professor George Williams said state same-sex marriages would be a step forward but they would not be a substitute for national recognition because a marriage conducted in one state would not be recognised elsewhere.
Meanwhile, the opposition Whip, Warren Entsch, said he would consult with gay rights campaigners, the Opposition Leader, Tony Abbott, and his Coalition colleagues about introducing a bill for ”civil partnerships” that would provide national legal recognition to both same and opposite sex couples.
The Senate is expected to vote today on a separate same-sex marriage bill co-sponsored by the Labor senators Trish Crossin, Carol Brown, Gavin Marshall and Louise Pratt.
In debate yesterday, the Finance Minister, Penny Wong, whose partner Sophie Allouache gave birth to a baby girl in December, described as ”hurtful” arguments by some senators that the children of same-sex couples were worse off than those raised by heterosexual couples. ”I do not regret that our daughter has Sophie and I as parents,” Senator Wong said.
”I do regret that she lives in a world where some will tell her that her family is not normal. I regret that even in this chamber, elected representatives denigrate the worth of her family. I will not rest in the face of such prejudice. I want for her, for all of us, an Australia which is inclusive and respectful, and this is why this campaign will not end here.”
The gay Liberal senator Dean Smith spoke against the bill, saying opinion in the gay community was divided.
”By not agreeing to same-sex marriage, I’m not choosing to endorse discrimination against my fellow gay and lesbian Australians, or to be disrespectful to their domestic relationships … instead for me, it’s an honest acknowledgment of the special and unique characteristics of the union described as marriage,” he said.
Senator Smith said while he was a man of faith, religious considerations had not influenced his thinking on the issue.
I love this gay storyline on the Australian soap Neighbours. It is wonderful to watch a gay male storyline from a different country. It is just nice to see male homosexuality on my television screen. Currently in Australia, homosexuality is a hot topic with the debates about same sex marriage and gay rights. Gay marriage is still illegal in Australia and the Prime Minister Julia Gillard is opposed to changing the marriage act.
Some fans are disappointed that Chris and Aidan gay romance is not more intense. However, Neighbours is a conservative Australian soap. I agree that Chris and Aidan deserve to have more love scenes but there is still a double standard on television. Heterosexual characters are allowed to express their sexuality while gay male characters have to be chaste. Chris and Aidan have kissed a couple of times but their kisses are so tame.
Chris and Aidan are a cute couple but a few months ago Chris lied to Adian. I can understand Aidan is worried that Chris is going to lie to him again but the last scene is so sad. Chris loves Aidan but sometimes love just is not enough.
Supporters of same-sex marriage are delaying a final vote in federal parliament hoping to shore up their numbers.
- ADVOCATES of same-sex marriage accept Parliament will defeat two bills later this year calling to legalise gay marriage but believe public pressure will ultimately prevail.
The Finance Minister, Penny Wong, one of the strongest proponents for a change to the Marriage Act, said yesterday that change would come.
”I think the campaign is not going to go away because, ultimately, it’s a campaign for people’s equality,” she said.
A seven-member parliamentary committee split 4-2 against same-sex marriage yesterday with one abstention as it handed down a report which contained no recommendations, only information for all politicians to use to inform their final decision.
The committee chairman and Labor MP, Graham Perrett, along with fellow Labor MP Laura Smyth, favoured gay marriage while Liberal MPs Sharman Stone and Ross Vasta, and Labor’s Mike Symon and Shane Neumann opposed it.
The other member, the Liberal moderate Judi Moylan, gave no separate opinion.
Because both pieces of legislation are private members bills, time set aside to debate them is limited and no vote is expected until the end of this year at the earliest.
Priority will be given to the bill introduced by the NSW Labor MP Stephen Jones. The other is a Greens bill, sponsored by Adam Bandt.
”We’re short of the numbers at the moment but anything could change,” Mr Jones said.
The Prime Minister, Julia Gillard, will vote against gay marriage but has allowed Labor MPs a conscience vote. Number crunchers estimate about 36 of the 70 Labor MPs will vote for same-sex marriage while 10 to 15 are undecided and the rest will vote against.
Tony Abbott will not allow a conscience vote and all Coalition MPs are required to vote against same-sex marriage. Backbenchers can cross the floor but any frontbencher who does so would have to resign from the shadow ministry.
Mr Bandt, who will hold off on his bill until later this year or next year, said the delay between the start of debate and the final vote would be used to increase public pressure on political leaders, especially Mr Abbott, to have a change of heart.
”I’m optimistic of achieving reform within the life of this Parliament with some more discussion and more persuasion,” he said.
Parliament’s standing committee on social policy and legal affairs received a record 276,437 responses to an online survey it conducted as part of its inquiry.
Church groups and the Australian Christian Lobby have fiercely campaigned against gay marriage, despite Labor’s bill exonerating the churches and any other religious groups from having to marry gay people.
Mr Perrett, who holds a marginal Queensland seat, said ”it is important to remember that God did not write the Marriage Act”.
With public opinion polls consistently showing majority support for same-sex marriage, Mr Perrett said it was incumbent upon MPs to respond to growing public support ”by categorically opposing laws that legitimise discrimination”.
Ms Stone and Mr Vasta said the Liberals had promised before the federal election not to legalise gay marriage.
”I do not accept that the view towards marriage has changed since the 2010 federal election,” Ms Stone said.