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Australia: PM asks for legal advice over Australian Capital Territory’s equal marriage bill

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  1. I don’t pretend to fully understand how politics works, particularly Australian politics. But this sounds like it could be good news – great news in fact, for our LGBT friends down under.

    1. Sandgroper 20 Sep 2013, 6:22am

      Mike, a brief background on our constitution and politics.
      Australia is a federation of 6 states, 2 self governing territories and a few external territories (antarctic and a few islands, some self governing and others not). The constitution outlines the areas of law which states can legislate and other areas of law that the Federal (Commonwealth) legislate. So there are parliaments for each of the states and self governing territories and of course the federal Commonwealth. The states and self governing territories parliaments can make legislation in areas of law in accordance with the constitution. The Commonwealth cannot interfere with laws made by state parliaments but can overturn laws passed by the self-governing Territories. Under the conservative Commonwealth government of John Howard euthanasia laws in the Northern Territory were overturned. Laws can also be overturned in the High Court if found unconstitutional.

      1. Sandgroper 20 Sep 2013, 6:46am

        The Commonwealth Parliament has jurisdiction over laws concerning marriage. The Australian Capital Territory Labor government in Canberra claims that because the Commonwealth has defined marriage as between a ‘man and a woman’, they have the right to legislate for relationships not so defined, i.e. same-sex marriage. Both sides claim they have advice from constitutional law ‘experts’. I have little doubt the conservative Abbott government will try to overturn the Same-sex Marriage law and ultimately the matter will head to the High Court to be decided. It will be interesting to see how this turns out.

        The conservative Government of New South Wales in Sydney is also looking to introduce same-sex marriage legislation but I am not aware of the background to their proposed laws. It is especially interesting because at the NSW state level the conservatives support SSM however the opposite is true at the conservative Commonwealth/Federal government level. It is rare to see such disparity

  2. Pavlos Prince of Greece 19 Sep 2013, 5:38pm

    I am sorry, but Mr. Abbot has making no secret about his anti-gay views during the last campaign – and was elected by an absolute majority, perhaps his strong opposition against marriage equality.
    Well, its “regles de jeux” in the democracy: maybe the majority of Australians are indeed in favor of gay marriage, but in September 2013 this same majority has choose him, and not Mr. Rudd.
    Happy new year 2016!

    1. Scott, Sydney 20 Sep 2013, 2:29am

      People did not vote for Abbott. He was King of Negative. His campaign was vote against Labor.

      Australian population in polls favour SSM by around 70%

      So when you know the facts from on the ground their is no way you can conclude Australians voted against SSM.

    2. Sandgroper 20 Sep 2013, 7:17am

      What rubbish, nothing is that simple- do you have no understanding of nuance? We also have to understand that as a minority that the issues that affect us most will not resonate as strongly with the majority, even if they are sympathetic to us. Opposition to SSM issue may be PART of a political party’s platform, and other issues (especially in relation to economic, health, education, environment) may rate much more highly in the electorates estimation as to what affects them. A party may also get elected as a protest against the existing government rather than what they stand for.

      Unlike many European countries where governments are often coalitions of several parties, Australia, Britain & the USA have two major political party system. Where there are many parties standing for election, you can vote for a party with a specific or fairly narrowly focussed ideology, whereas in a two party system, the choice is between who closest matches your ideology or who is the lesser of 2 evils.

  3. The laughable thing is that his party is called ‘Liberal’, when in fact it seems to have more in common with the UKIP/BNP/EDL

  4. Scott, Sydney 20 Sep 2013, 2:32am

    Soon NSW will be doing the same and it looks like marriage equality has the numbers there too. The difference there is that NSW is a State and cannot be overridden by Federal Parliament.

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