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Tuesday, 28 November 2017
Page: 8967


Senator CORMANN (Western AustraliaMinister for Finance and Deputy Leader of the Government in the Senate) (12:36): Firstly, let me indicate that I intend to support these amendments, but before making a brief contribution in support of the amendments, let me say right up front that, as I've indicated publicly before, I will vote to support the passage of this legislation through the third reading, consistent with the very clear and emphatic decision made by the Australian people in the context of the Australian marriage law postal survey. However, as I've also indicated publicly, I do support the need for additional religious protections to ensure that this change can be implemented in the best possible way. Specifically, in relation to these amendments, I do agree with the proposition that marriage celebrants—whether they are marriage celebrants on behalf of a recognised religion or marriage celebrants in any other context—are in a particular position where they should have the freedom, based on their conscience, to make a judgement on whether or not they want to be part of any type of marriage, for that matter, including the marriage that is going to become legal as part of this change. So, in that context, I do support the proposed expansion of the exemptions as they would apply to marriage celebrants.

Secondly, in relation to the alternative proposed way to amend the definition of marriage, I do believe that it does keep faith with the decision of the Australian people, which was to change the law to allow same-sex couples to marry. To maintain both the traditional definition of marriage and complement it with a definition that is consistent with the decision of the Australian people, I believe, is an appropriate way forward. On that basis, I support these amendments.