Thursday, 22 November 2012

Former PM Bob Hawke SPEAKS NOW

Former Australian Prime Minister Bob Hawke has stated that he is 'very much in favour' of the law being changed to permit same-sex couples to marry.

Bob Hawke in his younger years
On Wed. 21st November, ABC News chief political crrespondent Simon Cullen posted a story about an appearance by Hawke and another former PM, John Howard, at a charity event in support of Lifeline.

Prompted by the host of the event, former TV presenter Ray Martin, John Howard refused to change his position on same-sex marriage but Hawke was quoted as saying:

'I feel very deeply on all issues of discrimination, and in this area of sexual discrimination it just needs to be said straightforwardly -- you can be born with curly hair, you can be born with this gene-disposition towards homosexuality. If a person is born that way and they want to have the rights of the institutions of our society, they should have them.'

In her coverage of the same event for GAYSTAR NEWS, Anna Leach cites Australian Marriage Equality national convenor Rodney Croome, who welcomes the support of the former PM and contrasts Hawke's position with that of current Labor PM, Julia Gillard, which he finds deeply disappointing. 

In June, Gillard told same-sex marriage campaigners that her own relationship proved that you don't need marriage to show commitment. (Gillard lives with her partner Tim Mathieson but they have not married.) Her example failed to convince campaigners who pointed out that she had the choice whether or not to marry, while same-sex couples don't have the same choice under law.

Anna Leach also raised the comments allegedly made by another former Labor PM, now back-bencher Kevin Rudd, in July, that Gillard's position on the issue stems from a deal with the Christian right of her party to guarantee their support of her leadership.  If that were true, Gillard would have felt quite safe in allowing a conscience vote on her side of the House when it came up in Parliament, knowing that enough conservative Labor members would vote against it and the proposed changes to the Marriage Act would fail.  Rudd later denied making the suggestion.

Sunday, 18 November 2012

New Zealand SPEAKS NOW

After the spineless performance by Federal MPs in Australia, who voted down changes to the Marriage Act to allow same-sex couples to marry (despite the surge of public opinion in favour), New Zealand is preparing to show the Aussies the way.

Here are some links to the same sex-marriage debate in New Zealand.

The first link is to a member’s bill on the New Zealand Parliament website. From the right hand menu on this page you can read the debate notes for the first reading and the evidence presented to the select committee.

The Marriage (definition  of Marriage) Amendment Bill is in the name of Labour MP Louisa Wall.

The MP submitted the bill to a ballot of member bills and it was drawn on 26/7/2012. The first reading was held on 29/8/2012 and was passed 80-30 (conscience vote) to be referred to Government Administration Committee – a cross-party select committee of MPs which will examine the bill, listen to submissions (submissions were due 26/10/2012), and report back to the House by 28/3/2013. The committee may recommend amendments which are voted on during the second reading. If it passes the second reading the bill then goes to the committee of the whole House (all MPs) when MPs can put forward further amendments in the form of Supplementary Order Papers. The 3rd and final reading is then held and, if passed, the bill is then given royal assent.

Incidentally, Prime Minister John Key has said he will support the vote through all stages.

Evidence to select committee:

Louisa Wall email and Wiki link:

Wiki on  same-sex marriage in NZ:

Other links: