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Senator to introduce marriage equality bill immediately pending ‘yes’ vote

Senator to introduce marriage equality bill immediately pending ‘yes’ vote

Senator Dean Smith and his legislative rival, James Paterson

Results from the Australian postal survey on marriage equality are being announced today and senator Dean Smith is ready for a ‘yes’ vote.

Should the vote go that way, Smith is prepared to introduce his marriage equality bill immediately. He will propose a motion backed by several Liberal, Labor, and Green senators to begin debate on Thursday (16 November) morning.

Liberal senators Linda Reynolds and Jane Hume, Labor’s Penny Wong and Louise Pratt, the Greens’ Richard Di Natale and Janet Rice, Skye Kakoschke-Moore from the Nick Xenophon Team and Derryn Hinch all signed the motion with Smith.

The motion is below.

The motion details that Thursday’s debate on the bill ‘shall have precedence over all general business until not later than 6pm’.

The debate will continue the week of 27 November, with amendments reserved for that week. It will also continue to have precedence.

There is also a deadline for the bill’s passage by 30 November.

The multi-party support for the bill gives it heftier weight over another bill. Liberal senator James Paterson’s bill is also far more stringent.

Paterson’s bill allows refusal of wedding services from both religious and secular parties. It also provides immunity for people who express or act on more conservative beliefs about marriage, sexuality, and gender.

In contrast, Smith’s bill allows exemptions only for religious organizations and ministers.

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull called Smith’s bill a good ‘starting point’.

If the vote is ‘no’, the motion will be dismissed and Smith will table his bill.