Malcolm Turnbull Speech On Same-Sex Marriage

Opposition frontbencher Malcolm Turnbull has spoken in parliament on the Marriage Amendment Bill.

Turnbull made clear that he supported same-sex marriage but was bound by the coalition’s decision to oppose the bill. He said: “In my view, the numbers would not be there even if there were a free vote on the coalition side.” He called on same-sex marriage proponents to support civil unions.

Text of Malcolm Turnbull’s speech on the Marriage Amendment Bill 2012.

Mr TURNBULL (Wentworth) (11:37): Following on from my very good friend the member for Leichhardt, let me return the compliment. He has been a vigorous, persuasive and very effective advocate for the rights of same-sex couples and people of a homosexual orientation, and has done a great deal of work, perhaps made more effective because of his unlikely persona as the crocodile farmer from North Queensland, speaking up for the gay community in the widest sense of the word.

Turning to the Marriage Amendment Bill 2012, as honourable members are aware, the coalition has taken a position as a party, and as a coalition party room, not to allow a free vote on this issue. So, like the member for Leichardt, I will not be voting in favour of this bill. Were, however, a free vote to be permitted I would support legislation which recognised same-sex couples as being described as in a marriage. I want to explain to the House why I would do that and also suggest an alternative.

The arguments that have been put against gay marriage fall into three categories. The first one we can call a taxonomic one. They say a marriage is between a man and a woman. You cannot make a table into a chair simply by calling it a chair. It is a table; it does not matter what name you give it. The weakness with that argument is that the definition of marriage has changed again and again over time. In my estimation, at least one-third of the marriages extant in Australia today would not be recognised by the Catholic Church, or indeed by the Anglican Church, because one of the parties to that marriage has been married before and their former spouses are still living. So the truth is that society has defined and redefined marriage again and again. [Read more…]

A (Portentous?) Statement From Andrew Wilkie

Andrew Wilkie, the independent member for Denison, has issue the following statement about his negotiations with the government over its National Gambling Reform Bill.

Wilkie’s reference to “the uncertainty and changing circumstances in the Parliament” is intriguing.

A Statement on Poker Machine Reform

Andrew WilkieI wish to correct a media report today that I’ve extended my deadline for the Federal Government to address my concerns with the National Gambling Reform Bill 2012.

I gave the Families Minister, Jenny Macklin, a deadline of Friday April 20 to respond to my concern the Bill did not deliver on the Prime Minister’s promise that ‘we are ready to flick the switch to a best-practice mandatory pre-commitment system’ on Australia’s poker machines. I received a letter from Minister Macklin late Friday April 20 so that deadline was met.

I am now considering Minister Macklin’s response and taking advice in light of the uncertainty and changing circumstances in the Parliament. In Canberra today I’ve met with representatives from both the Government and the Opposition.

Today’s statement should be read in conjunction with Wilkie’s earlier statement on March 22:


The Independent Member for Denison, Andrew Wilkie, continues to work with the Federal Government to try and ensure the National Gambling Reform Bill 2012 is a stepping-stone to meaningful poker machine reform.

Mr Wilkie has had numerous meetings this week with Minister Jenny Macklin in an attempt to resolve two key issues. [Read more…]

Turnbull Pushes For Delay of Emissions Trading Scheme Legislation

The Leader of the Opposition, Malcolm Turnbull, has announced that the coalition will move to defer passage of the Emissions Trading Scheme legislation until next year.

Speaking at a joint press conference with the Nationals leader, Warren Truss, Turnbull argued that the legislation should be delayed until after the Copenhagen conference at the end of the year.

Turnbull also argued that Australia should wait until US legislation is debated and voted on. He claimed that the American legislation will become the “benchmark” for other nations to follow.

The Opposition will oppose the ETS legislation if its deferral moves fail.

Click the PLAY button to listen to Malcolm Turnbull and Warren Truss:

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

Greens Condemn Secrecy, Abuse Of Parliament

The Australian Greens have reacted following the recall of the Senate to pass an amendment to counter-terrorist legislation and the Prime Minister’s announcement of a “potential terrorist threat” to Australia.

This is the text of a media release from the Australian Greens Senator, Rachel Siewert.

Prime Minister’s IR Sleight Of Hand Condemned

Nov 3, 2005

Senator Rachel Siewer“The Prime Minister received notice of this apparent terror threat well before the Industrial Relations bill was tabled yesterday,” Senator Siewert said. “Why then, did they go ahead with the introduction of the IR bill before introducing the terror amendment?” [Read more…]

Howard Rushes Amendment To Counter Terrorism Legislation

Indefinite Article Wins The Day

‘The’ becomes ‘a’ in an urgent amendment the Federal Government is rushing through Parliament today. The rush to substitute the indefinite article for the definite article has been justified by claims of a ‘potential terrorist threat.’

Addressing a press conference late this morning, the Prime Minister, John Howard said: “The reason for this amendment is that the Government has received specific intelligence and police information this week which gives cause for serious concern about a potential terrorist threat.”

Howard said: “All the detail of this information has been provided by me and the Attorney General to the Leader of the Opposition and to the Shadow Minister for Homeland Security. The Government is satisfied on the advice provided to it that the immediate passage of this amendment would strengthen the capacity of the law enforcement agencies to effectively respond to this threat. We are acting of course, against the background of the assessment of intelligence agencies reported in the annual ASIO report.”

The Labor Opposition has announced that it will support the amendment. [Read more…]

John Howard’s Border Protection Bill

This is the text of the Howard government’s Border Protection Bill.

The bill was proposed in the aftermath of the arrival of the MV Tampa.


The Parliament of the

Commonwealth of Australia 


Presented and read a first time 

Border Protection Bill 2001 

No. , 2001 

(Immigration and Multicultural Affairs) 

A Bill for an Act to provide for the removal of ships from the territorial sea of Australia, and for related purposes


A Bill for an Act to provide for the removal of ships from the territorial sea of Australia, and for related purposes

The Parliament of Australia enacts:

1 Short title

This Act may be cited as the Border Protection Act 2001.

2 Commencement

This Act is taken to have commenced on 29 August 2001 at 9.00 am by legal time in the Australian Capital Territory.

3 Definitions

In this Act:

Australia includes all the external Territories.

officer means any of the following persons who is authorised (whether orally or in writing) for the purposes of this Act by the Prime Minister or the Minister:

      (a) the Secretary, or an employee, of the Department;

      (b) a person who is an officer for the purposes of the Customs Act 1901;

      (c) a member of the Australian Federal Police or of the police force of a State or an internal Territory;

      (d) a member of the police force of an external Territory;

      (e) a member of the Australian Defence Force.

ship means any vessel used in navigation, other than air navigation, and includes a barge, lighter or any other floating vessel.

territorial sea, in relation to Australia, means the territorial sea area whose outer limits are from time to time specified in a Proclamation made by the
Governor-General for the purposes of section 7 of the Seas and Submerged Lands Act 1973.

4 Direction that ship be removed from Australian territorial sea

      (1) An officer may, in his or her absolute discretion, direct the master or other person in charge of a ship that is within the outer limits of the territorial sea of Australia to take the ship, and any person on board the ship, outside the territorial sea.

      (2) A direction given under subsection (1) must not be called into question, or challenged, in any proceedings in any court in Australia.

      (3) An officer may use any reasonable means to give a direction under subsection (1).

      (4) To avoid doubt, a direction is given under subsection (1) even if:

      (a) there was no master on board the ship to receive the direction; or

      (b) the master did not receive or understand the direction.

5 Enforcement of direction

Where a direction has been given under section 4, an officer may detain the ship, and take it, or cause it to be taken, outside the territorial sea of Australia. For this purpose, reasonable means, including reasonable force, may be used by the officer or another person.

6 Persons may be returned to ship

An officer, or a person assisting an officer, may return to a ship a person who:

      (a) at the time when a direction is given under section 4 in respect of the ship, is on board the ship; and

      (b) later leaves the ship.

For this purpose, reasonable means, including reasonable force, may be used by the officer or another person.

7 Liability for actions taken under this Act

      (1) Proceedings, whether civil or criminal, may not be instituted or continued against the Commonwealth in respect of action taken under section 5 or 6.

      (2) Proceedings, whether civil or criminal, may not be instituted or continued against an officer who takes action under section 5 or 6, or a person who assists in taking action under section 5 or 6, if the officer or other person acts in good faith.

8 No proceedings available to prevent removal of ship

Proceedings may not be instituted or continued by any person in any court to prevent a ship, or any persons on board a ship, being removed to a place outside the territorial sea of Australia pursuant to a direction
given under section 4.

9 No applications for protection visas

      (1) Any application for a protection visa under the Migration Act 1958, made by a person who is on board a ship at the time when a direction is given under section 4 in respect of the ship, is not a valid application.

      (2) Section 91F of the Migration Act 1958 applies in relation to an application covered by subsection (1) of this section as if it were an application covered by section 91E of that Act.

10 Act has effect in spite of any other law

This Act has effect in spite of any other law.

11 Validation of actions taken before Assent to this Act

      (1) This section applies to action taken during the period between the commencement of this Act and the time when this Act received the Royal Assent.

      (2) If, during that period, the Prime Minister or the Minister authorised a person (the authorised person) described in any of the paragraphs of the definition of officer in section 3 to give a direction of the kind described in section 4 (however that authorisation was expressed), then:

      (a) any action of the kind described in section 5 or 6 that was taken pursuant to that authorisation (including any action taken by any other person at the request or direction of the authorised person) is deemed for all purposes to have been validly taken under this Act; and

      (b) section 7 applies in respect of any such action as if the action had been taken under section 5 or 6; and

      (c) section 8 applies in respect of any removal of a ship pursuant to such an authorisation as if a direction had been given under section 4; and

      (d) section 9 applies to any application made by a person who was on board the ship at any time during that period as if a direction had been given under section 4 in respect of the ship concerned while the person was on board the ship.