SSM protections: “George Brandis says”
Humpty dumpty sits in the senate, why on earth nobody knows…
Those three words, “George Brandis says” is the man’s trademark which means, “I talk rubbish.” George Brandis QC, a lawyer who might have to survive of perking ticket issues were he to return to legal practice. Both he and Turnbull were dead certain that Barnaby Joyce was sailing pretty. As attorney general Brandis has presided over many legal flops, why then would we have an ounce of confidence in any legal matter on Brandis which he makes comment? Dear Lord the swamp is full of them!
Senior Government ministers are moving to avoid another feud within the Coalition over same-sex marriage, nominating Liberal Dean Smith’s bill as “a good starting point”, while promising “ample protections for religious freedoms”. As expectations grow a “yes” result will be announced on Wednesday, those on the conservative side have been trying to exert influence over the shape of any bill to legalise same-sex marriage.
Same-sex marriage bill would contain ‘ample religious protections’, George Brandis says
Senator Smith’s plan has attracted broad parliamentary support — but Liberal Senator James Paterson released an alternative on Monday, which he argued would provide even greater protections for religious freedoms, beyond the ceremony itself.
Some conservatives are deeply concerned the “centre-right” Coalition could be the party to legalise same-sex marriage and see “heavy” religious protections as their only protection against a backlash from party members and supporters.
But Attorney-General George Brandis said the Coalition had “gone to great lengths to make sure this is ultimately the call of the Australian people” and any bill would contain “ample religious protections”.
“We have always made it clear that the protection of religious freedom is an important value,” he told 7.30.
“But where you draw the line, how narrowly or how broadly you draw the line, is going to be the subject, no doubt, of a lot of attention during the parliamentary debate.”
The protections contained in Senator Smith’s bill would ensure religious ministers and civil celebrants cannot be sued if they refuse to marry same-sex couples.
But Senator Paterson’s version has gone much further — allowing private businesses to refuse goods and services for gay weddings if they have “conscientious objections”.
Religious exemptions are a backward step
Allowing people and private businesses to refuse service for same-sex weddings would undermine anti-discrimination legislation, Mark Humphery-Jenner writes.
Senator Paterson’s bill would effectively mean demolishing or overriding existing anti-discrimination laws — which Cabinet Minister Simon Birmingham said the Government had no intention of doing.
“We already have very clear anti-discrimination laws that say you can’t turn customers away on the basis of their gender, race, and sexuality and we should not be changing the operation of those laws,” Senator Birmingham said.
Senator Paterson’s intervention in the debate has infuriated some colleagues, who have questioned whether the Victorian Senator — who voted Yes in the survey — was now trying to burnish his conservative credentials to shore up his pre-selection.
One MP said their “gut turned” when they read the details of Senator Paterson’s bill, while another Coalition MP accused him and his conservative colleagues of trying to “torpedo” the process.
There is also an element of frustration among the same-sex marriage supporters, who feel that they have “bent over backwards” to meet the demands of the right-wing of the party — including agreeing to a postal survey.
Depending on the outcome of the survey, Senator Smith is set to table his bill on Thursday, while Senator Paterson is yet to decide whether he will introduce his plan to the Upper House or the party room for further debate.
However, senior members of the Government have made it clear there is little appetite for more debate and the fate of both bills would be decided in Parliament.