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Tuesday, 28 November 2017
Page: 9138

Senator PRATT (Western Australia) (22:47): Labor is opposing this amendment. These issues were given careful consideration by the select committee and are at the core of the construction of the bill before us. The amendment that Senator Brandis has put forward along with Senator Canavan undermines the purpose of the new category of religious marriage celebrants who have been specifically given the rights to refuse to solemnise marriages on the same basis as ministers of religion where it offends their religious belief, be that of same-sex marriage or any other doctrinal grounds. To proceed with this amendment would undermine the important principle that civil celebrants, as secular representatives of the state, should be bound by antidiscrimination legislation. We very much accept the need to protect religious freedoms, but we will not and should not be extending exemptions from antidiscrimination legislation to secular officers appointed by the state.