Seconds Out, Round Two

Neville Chamberlain’s “appeasement” of Hitler: that went well, too.
pic Segunda Guerra Mundial

The marriage bill got through the Senate: now it has to survive Turnbull’s appeasement


There were a lot of amendments put forward in the Senate. Most of them were crazy left-field “don’t make the chauffeur drive the gays to the wedding if they don’t like poufs” variety, which were, quite rightly, trashed by a large margin.

Predictably, this really really upset people like Erica Betz, as is also right and proper.

Erica and the DelCons (Delusional Conservatives) are feeling sandbagged. First by the difference between the survey question (which was about same-sex couples), and the bill (which simply refers to “two people”). Secondly, by Labor sticking to the black letter interpretation of a ‘conscience vote’.


Labor Senators voted on the bill as a whole according to their consciences, but were bound by party discipline to vote against the amendments (the same rules will apply to Labor MPs next week).

In addition, Labor is encouraging dissidents to exercise their consciences by not voting on the bill at all, rather than voting No. Some abstained, some were regrettably away at other events, and one, Victorian Senator Jacinta Collins (one of Jo De Bruyn’s Shoppies Union Catholic stooges), took a “pair” (see list below**), even though she is a strong anti.

This is how all the amendments were voted down in the Senate, and will also get them voted down in the House. We hope. But the same deal also wiped out the Greens amendments.


This is a great pity, because the Greens amendments would have created a ‘clean’ bill, with no new special religious privileges. The Greens want to:

  • remove a grandfather clause allowing current civil celebrants to nominate themselves as religious celebrants so they can turn away same-sex couples
  • axe the clause allowing exemptions for churches and religious schools (this is already in the Sex Discrimination Act and is therefore unnecessary symbolism)
  • add a line explaining that the Act does not limit state and territory anti-discrimination laws
  • change the name from the Marriage Amendment (Definition and Religious Freedoms) Act 2017 to the Marriage Amendment Act 2017.


The Greens will move their amendments again in the House.


The Prime Minister has decided to try appeasing his poor suffering DelCons again. Malcolm Turnbull will back some religious-­protection amendments when parliament returns next week for a final vote in the House of Representatives.

The Prime Minister yesterday confirmed to The Australian he would vote in favour of several proposed amendments to the Dean Smith bill that yesterday passed the Senate unamended, following the failure of Coalition senators to secure any of the greater protections demanded by conservatives.

It is understood Mr Turnbull will vote for limited amendments drafted by the Attorney-General George Brandis, also rejected in the Senate, which would safeguard charities and protect civil celebrants from being forced to marry same-sex couples.

But the Prime Minister is unlikely to vote for the broader amendments for parental rights and anti-detriment provisions, drafted by Liberal senators David Fawcett and James Paterson, which failed in the Senate after six Coalition senators broke with a majority of colleagues and voted with Labor and the Greens to defeat them

If only he could get over this fatal need to try to make everyone love him, he might make a halfway decent PM one of these years. But I think we can relax: this gesture will probably be as ineffective as pretty well everything else the PM does.

And who knows: two can play at that game. If Turnbull is going to belatedly jump on the god-botherer’s wagon, why should Bill Shorten not jump on the Green one and give us a genuine marriage equality law?





Simon Birmingham
George Brandis
David Bushby
Mathias Cormann
Jonathon Duniam
Mitch Fifield
Ian ​Macdonald
Nigel Scullion
Anne Ruston
James Paterson
Jane Hume
Marise Payne
Linda Reynolds
Scott Ryan Dean Smith


Carol Brown
Catryna Bilyk
Doug Cameron
Kim Carr
Anthony Chisholm
Kimberley Kitching
​Sue Lines
Jenny McAllister
Malarndirri McCarthy
Claire Moore
Louise Pratt
Lisa Singh
Anne Urquhart
Murray Watt
Penny Wong


Andrew Bartlett
Richard Di Natale
Sarah Hanson-Young
Nick McKim
​Lee Rhiannon
Janet Rice
Jordon Steele-John
Rachel Siewert
Peter Whish-Wilson


​Stirling Griff
Rex Patrick
David Leyonhjelm
​Derryn Hinch



Chris Ketter
Helen Polley


Concetta Fierravanti-Wells
Eric Abetz
Slade Brockman
John Williams
Matt Canavan
Barry O’Sullivan


Lucy Gichuhi
Fraser Anning
Cory Bernardi
Brian Burston



Michaelia Cash (abstained)
David Fawcett (abstained)
James McGrath (abstained)
Zed Seselja (abstained)
​Arthur Sinodinos (on leave)
Bridget McKenzie (abstained)


Jacinta Collins (paired with Gavin Marshall)
Sam Dastyari (attending funeral)
Pat Dodson (leave)
Don Farrell (attending funeral)
Alex Gallacher (attending funeral)
Katy Gallagher (leave)
Gavin Marshall (overseas)
Deb O’Neill (abstain)
Glenn Sterle (attending funeral)


Pauline Hanson (abstained)
Peter Georgiou (abstained)

About the author

Veteran gay writer and speaker, Doug was one of the founders of the UKs pioneering GLBTI newspaper Gay News (1972) , and of the second, Gay Week, and is a former Features Editor of Him International. He presented news and current affairs on JOY 94.9 FM Melbourne for more than ten years. "Doug is revered, feared and reviled in equal quantities, at times dividing people with his journalistic wrath. Yet there is no doubt this grandpa-esque bear keeps everyone abreast of anything and everything LGBT across the globe." (Daniel Witthaus, "Beyond Priscilla", Clouds of Magellan, Melbourne, 2014)