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Tuesday, 28 November 2017
Page: 8981


Senator FAWCETT (South AustraliaDeputy Government Whip in the Senate) (13:40): One of the things I love about the Senate chamber is this committee stage, because you can actually come to the detail of bills and challenge assumptions. Senator Smith, in his contribution, highlighted the fact that the sensible accommodation in his bill, which was recommended by the committee, was the establishment of the traditional marriage celebrants. Clearly, what's been misunderstood here is the proposal in these amendments: we are saying it shouldn't be a time limited option for civil celebrants who wish to be identified as a traditional marriage celebrant and go into that category; we're saying that this should be an ongoing option. Many people here seem to have formed the opinion that what we're arguing for is someone who is a civil celebrant only to have those same options and rights. What we're arguing for is that, on an ongoing basis, people should be able to notify the registrar that they wish to be identified as a traditional marriage celebrant, and go into that category that Senator Smith has quite correctly said is an appropriate balance moving forward. So these amendments actually calling for an ongoing existence of that category for a civil celebrant who wishes to move into that category.

For those who are saying they oppose this because it's so novel, we're just arguing that what Senator Smith has put forward as an interim or grandfathered measure for existing civil celebrants should be an ongoing measure. And so the argument that it's completely novel and unprecedented is actually revealed as not to be true by the contribution Senator Smith has just made. So, I'd ask people to consider that in their judgement on these amendments. We're actually supporting that category that the committee recommended, that Senator Smith has adopted, but we're saying it should be ongoing as opposed to time limited.

The CHAIR: The question is that amendments as moved by Senator Fawcett, those being (1) to (19), (21) to (23), (25), (27) to (38), and (40) to (44) on sheet 8326 be agreed to.