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(generated from captions) Marvellous. Thanks, Vanessa.

Thank you. You're watching

News 24 this morning. The Queensland Parliament has passed laws recognising same-sex civil partnerships.

Labor MPs were allowed a conscience vote, and most,

including the Premier Anna Bligh, supported the conscience

legislation. The final vote

expected, wasn't as narrow as you

expected, with a margin of 47

to 40. The days before a debate on gay marriage at the Labor Party's national marriage at the Labor Party's

Australian stock market has

opened more than 2.5% higher

after six central

launched a program aimed to

prevent a global credit crunch.

The European central bank, US

federal re serve and their counterparts in Japan, Switzerland, Canada, Switzerland, Canada, Britain,

will make it cheaper to borrow US dollars. The Australian dollar

dollar is also stronger, buying

more than 102 US

is expelling all Iranian

diplomats in retaliation for yesterday's attack on its

embassy in Tehran. The British

Government has demanded the immediate closure of Iran's

embassy in London and embassy in London and ordered

its staff to leave the country

within 48 hours. Iranian protesters

protesters stormed the British

embassy following a decision impose further sanctions on embassy following a decision to

Iran. The Australian summer of cricket starts in Brisbane this

morning with the opening day of the first test against New

Zealand. The Australian side will welcome inexperienced side in many making it our most

years. It's also first match under new coach years. It's also Australia's

Mickey Arthur. As we Mickey Arthur. As we just heard, prop ownents of gay

marriage within the ALP are looking forward to looking forward to this

weekend's national conference

in Sydney. Not only are they

confident they have the numbers to change the party's to change the party's gay

marriage platform, they've been given a boost by the given a boost by the Queensland

Parliament, which passed laws

recognising same-sex civil

partnerships last night. deputy Premier's private

member's bill passed 47-50.

The State Opposition voted The State Opposition voted

against it. Queensland Labor

MPs were allowed a conscience vote and most supported the legislation. The public legislation.

gallery was packed throughout

the debate and gay rights

advocates applauded and cheered

when the bill was passed. Mr Speaker, this Bill is fundamentally about the human rights of Queensland but it's much more about that, rights of Queensland citizens, but


it's about the joyful business

of love. That's why it's

touched the hearts of so many

Australians, why so many people

believe that the parliaments of believe that the

Australia - more and more

people are prepared to talk

about an issue once swept under

the carpet. As they do so,

more and more Australians realise that realise that their uncle, their grandma, the

grandma, the man who works in

the shop, their butcher, may well be someone in this circumstance. Mr circumstance. Mr Speaker, I

believe marriage is between a

man and a woman. (Laughter in the children, those very real children, who live in our electorates and who would electorates and who would now

be better off if they had the

capacity, if their parents had

the capacity to enter into the capacity to enter into a civil union?

civil union? In some respects,

I believe this has become an

incompetenceo facto referendum

on whether Christianity is some

sort of bigoted and uncaring religion, yet it

interesting to see that not one

single piece of correspondence

was received from the was received from the committee

from the Islamic point of view,

Sikh point of view, the Hind u

point of view, and they are all

sorts that hold even stronger

views in some cases than some aspects of the

church. So, Mr Speaker, as a

matter of conscience, I cannot

support the legislation, but I

do so with a struggle in my

heart. To love and beloved is

surely one of the most precious

of experiences. Fortunate are

all who experience it. Love

has nothing to do with core

values and it has nothing to with values and it has nothing to do we don't pass this we don't pass this bill

tonight, we are saying that the

value of the love between

same-sex partners is somehow of a lesser value than that of a lesser value than that of a heterosexual couple. That's the

flavour of some of the debate

night. The vote eventually in Queensland's Parliament last

time. passed about midnight Brisbane

time. Staying with politics,

federal MPs are set for a big

pay rise in exchange pay rise in exchange for losing some of

some of their perks. The res

mun ration tribunal has been

decision. It's believed that and is about to hand down a reviewing politicians' salaries

MPs' salaries could jump by as much as $50,000 a year, but perks such as the study allowance and the lifetime gold pass would be axed. The Immigration Minister's facing internal

opposition to his push for opposition to his push for an

offshore processing deal.

Minister Chris Bowen wants

Australia to increase its

refugee intake by almost refugee intake by almost half

to 20,000 so long as there's offshore processing. He'll put

the plan forward to the ALP

facing opposition from the national conference this

party's left faction. Senator

Doug Cameron says all refugee

claims should be processed onshore and says the plan is

likely to fail. The sex for political favours political favours inquiry

continues in Sydney today.

This afternoon the man at the

centre of the allegations, the

former NSW Minister Ian MacDonald, will answer to

damaging allegations dating back

back two years. It's been a closely watched inquiry with closely watched inquiry with a

full media contingent hanging

on to every word. The ICAC investigating claims the former

state energy minister was bribed by controversial

businessman and alleged killer Ron Medich. It's alemed Mr McDonald received the services

of a prostitute as a reward for

setting up meetings between Ron

Medich and energy Medich and energy company executives. Yesterday Ron

Medich told the ICAC he drove

Mr McDonald to a hotel to meet

an escort, but denied knowing what happened behind what happened behind closed

doors. Ron Medich is on bail for the murder of standover man Michael McGurk. The Australian Stock standover

Exchange has opened more than 2.5% higher after six central banks launched coordinated

action to stop a credit crunch developing developing in the global financial system. Federal Reserve, the European

central bank and sent bral banks of Canada, Britain, banks of Canada, Britain, Japan

and Switzerland have agreed to

make it easier for European banks

banks to access US dollars at

lower rates. The moves lower rates. The moves were made in response to Europe's debt

debt crisis. European markets

were up as much as 5%. Wall Street Street was 3.5% higher. The

Australian dollar was also

climbing sharply on the news.

It's the biggest show of

industrial action in the UK more than 30 years. Public

sector workers have been

striking over changes to their pensions. The impact has

varied across the country. British Prime Minister David

Cameron says it's been a damp Cameron says it's been a damp

squib, but unions say up to 2

million people have walked off

the job. (All sing) solidarity

forever ... This was the forever ... This was the day they said would bring country they said would bring the

country to a stand still, the day

day we'd see the biggest set of strikes in a generation.

25,000 public sector workers

took to the streets in London.

30,000 marched in Birmingham.

Those who work at schools and

hospitals and government

offices were protesting offices were protesting at planned cuts to their pensions. 8,500 more joined

8,500 more joined them in

gateshead. What impact they have? Schools across the

UK are disrupted, more than

three-quarters in England, in Wales and Scotland almost all

closed. Public closed. Public transport was

disrupted too. Glasgow's subway, the Newcastle metro were closed and all trains and buses

buses stopped in Northern

Ireland. Hospitals were open

as usual, but tens of thousands of routine appointments were cancelled, so too many non-urgent operations. non-urgent operations. What,

though, of Britain's borders.

The predicted lengthy queues at even the Prime Minister's even the Prime Minister's own press secretary manned passport control and warnings meant that

the numbers travelling was down

by a third. We said it could

be up to 12 hours. be up to 12 hours. We thought

we'd get through fairly

quickly. It's better service

than normally. Behind today's

sound and fury, some on both

sides still believe that detailed negotiations can and

will succeed. Today is

will succeed. Today is not

just a series of massive strikes,

strikes, not just a series of

protests. It is a battle of

will and a battle for public

opinion. That battle was questions today, with the Tory

and Labour leaders behaving as

if they think we're back in the

1980s, when they first learnt

their politics. The signs are the contingency

measures are minimising measures are minimising the

impact. We have full cover in impact.

terms of ambulance services and

only 18 out of 900 job centres

have closed. Despite the disappointment, it looks disappointment, it looks like something of a damp squib. The

difference is that unlike him,

I'm not going to demonise the dinner lady, the cleaner, the

nurse, people who aren't while

the chancellor pays for his

annual skiing holiday. Strikers

who watched weren't impressed

with a Prime Minister they

believe is hell-bent on

confrontation. All over the

country people from all of the

public services have got their

voice across loud and voice across loud and clear,

their anger, their concern,

their determination to win a

fair deal on their pensions arrangements. Was this an

unrivalled display of anger by

2 million workers or a damp

squib? Don't expect agreement

on that or the future of on that or the future of public

sector pensions any time soon. Syria's biggest trading

partner, Turkey, has cranked up the pressure

the pressure on President

Bashar al-Assad, announcing new

sanctions to leave him more

isolated. The move comes amid

further claims Syrian

further claims Syrian forces

have killed more Syrians in the deadly crackdown on

dissidents. Turkey has frozen Syrian Syrian Government assets in the

country and suspended all

financial transaction s with

its neighbour. Turkey's Foreign Minister says the trade ban was implemented only after

Damascus had rejected many

calls to end its violent crackdown on anti-government protesters. TRANSLATION: One,

to stop most financial dealings with Damascus, to stop relations with the central bank of Syria and and three to stop all all sales of military weapons and supplies to the Syrian

military. Turkey says it will

enforce economic sanctions on

Syria to push President

al-Assad to open up the

political system or step aside. The problem is that when The problem is that when you

drive along the border, many Turks

Turks will tell you that they are going to be the ones are going to be the ones mostly

affected by economic sanctions.

I travelled all the way from the border crossing in hath ae

to the south, 900km long border where the people in the

villages have been relying on

trade with Syria for years.

Now they are bracing for Now they are bracing for the worst. In Turkey top

destination, now it's deserted. destination, now it's deserted.

Further east, just a mile from

the Syrian city of

business is down. And traders here did well when this

crossing was busy. Now they

are worried about their future. TRANSLATION: In the past 500

families in this village made a

living from this crossing gate.

Now all of our people are suffering

suffering and are deeply worried. We want relations

with Syria to occur as soon as

possible. This dam in Turk ee

is where the Turkish Government

has drawn a line in sanctions

against Syria. The dam against Syria. The dam sits on

the river. Syrians depend on

the river for water and the

power plant for electricity.

It's said it won't cut off the

power or withhold water, it doesn't

doesn't want to hurt millions

of innocent Syrians. Turkey is

at a cross-roads. This is a

new border post being built.

Syria is a major transit route

to the Middle East. But to the Middle East. But with the new sanctions Turkey will have to look Turkey will have to look for

alternative trade routes, alternative trade routes, maybe through Iraq, but that will take time. The

State, Hillary Clinton, is

continuing her historic visit

to Burma. The trip is the first

first in half a century for a

top US diplomat and it comes in

response to political and economic reforms by the military dominated government. Journalists coko from the BBC's

Burmese service says it's a

significant trip. Well, I think this think this particular visit is

important in at least two

senses: one, because this is

the first visit in more than 50

years by a Secretary of State from the United States visiting

Burma. Secondly, this is the first concrete sign that we are seeing the relations between

the US and Burma can be

normalised. But whether this

is premature it's difficult to

judge at this moment, yes there are changes and Aung

San Suu Kyi herself talks about

those changes because she those changes because she is now considering or maybe has decided to participate in upcoming by-election. So she

told the people of Burma, well,

when you do politics, you have

to take risks. I think the US Government has also measured

all the circumstances and

taking a risk, hoping this right direction, which is

transforming the country into

real democracy. Ko Ko Aung from

the BBC's Burmese

service. Hundreds of protests

stormed two British diplomatic compounds in Tehran. The

demonstrators were angered by

support for new sanctions

imposed over concerns Iran is

developing nuclear weapons. Iran's weapons. Iran's hardliners,

sometimes call Britain the

little Satan. New British sanctions over Iran's program techted protesters to

invade British headquarters in

Tehran. Tehran. Demonstrators even raided a residential compound and Iran's Government didn't stop them. So Britain has now

decided to pull up the draw

bridge. The Iranian charge in London is being informed we require the bridge.

of the Iranian embassy in

London and all Iranian

diplomatic staff must leave the

UK within the next 48 hours.

If any country makes it impossible for us their soil, they cannot expect to

to have a functioning embassy

here. So in west London the

flag of the Islamic republic

will fly for just two will fly for just two more

days. The Iranian diplomats in

this building now have until Friday

Friday afternoon to leave the country. After that, country. After that, this

embassy will be empty and

Britain and Iran will have Britain and Iran will have to find another way of communicating. TRANSLATION: This morning in Tehran, This morning in Tehran, Iran's parliamentary speaker said parliamentary speaker said that

the protesters' actions

reflected popular opinion. Iran's State TV calls

the embassy closures hasty.

Still, empty embassies won't

bother hardliners. But it may make make it more difficult to res solve crises like this one back

in 2007, when 15 British naval personnel were captured by personnel were captured by Iran

in the Gulf. They were in the Gulf. They were only freed after intense diplomatic

negotiations. But after

yesterday's violence, the

phones in Tehran and London

will now go unanswered.

Diplomatic at their lowest

point for more than

years. The top stories this parliament has passed laws

recognising civil unions for same-sex couples. The

legislation passed 47 votes legislation passed 47 votes to

40 during a late-night sitting

in parliament. The bill comes

just days before a debate on

gay marriage at the Labor

Party's national conference. Six of

Six of the world's biggest

banks have moved to avoid

another credit crunch, sending

Australian dollar soaring. The European central bank, the US Federal Reserve and their

equivalents in Japan, Britain,

Canada and Switzerland have announced they'll make it

cheaper for banks to buy US

dollars. Australia will take

on New Zealand in the first

cricket Test starting in

Brisbane this morning. The home side will kick off the

summer season with one of its

most inexperienced line-ups,

with at least three players

making their test debuts. Checking the weather around the

capital cities:

The local share market is trading sharply higher in early

trade after global markets

rallied overnight. The major minors are making the strongest gains. Retailers near Melbourne's troubled Docklands

Wheel say they're paying the

cost for delays on the project.

It's been more than

It's been more than two years

since it stopped spinning and

there's still no on when it will be up and running again. With Christmas

less than a months away,

businesses are hopes the crowds will soon start

flowing. Another day of windy

lost on the Docklands Wheel,

and local businesses can't wait

for the skies to clear and the wheel

wheel to final ly start. It's

going to increase our business

30 to 50%. It's a lot, yes.

Everyone is looking forward to

it being opened - a lot. The

wheel was supposed to bring tourists to Docklands, but it's

been closed for more than two

years after it buckled during a

Melbourne heatwave. At this

adjacent shopping centre the

Christmas crowds aren't what they they should be.

up because it's Christmas, so

it's a lot better. Earlier this

week the wheel came out of its

holding points and spun out of

control. Worksafe has since issued a non-disturbance

notice, meaning no work will be

done here for at least a done here for at least a week. It's a figurehead It's a figurehead development

and project down at Docklands

and a lot of people are hoping

there isn't a major issue again

. Some retailers have told the

ABC they're paying a discounted

rent until the wheel is place, but with Melbourne's

weather as unpredictable as it

is, they have no idea when that

might be. And the wheel's

owner, ING Property, says doesn't owner, ING Property, says it doesn't know either. We hope that

that the weather turns to the

point where they can get that

on as quickly as they want it

to take place. Businesses are

hoping for a lucky spin.

Hundreds of descendants of Australia's pioneering

Antarctic expedition are descending on Hobart. descending on Hobart. They're flying in to commemorate 100 years since Sir Douglas

years since Sir Douglas Mawson

led the historic exhibition south. For

south. For many, this is the

image we identify with Sir

Douglas Mawson. The explorer led Australia's first

Antarctica expedition in Antarctica expedition in 1911.

For his great granddaughter,

there's more to the man. The

image of him with

that seems to frame him forever

within that time period in that expedition.

expedition. I guess I'm

interested in looking at him as a whole man. Mawson's great granddaughter is granddaughter is about 100

descendants of the 1911 voyage in Hobart to commemorate in Hobart to commemorate the

event. She addressed the Royal

Society of Tasmania, just as

her great grandfather did a

century ago. I would listen to

the stories my father told and

my grandmother told about him

eating his dogs and the of eating his dogs and the soles of h is

all of those gory details that

children love. Love letters

between Mawson and his wife Paquita helped reveal more about her famous ancestor. In

a place where there are no physical landmarks really,

where everything looks the same, I think having that

emotional landmark, so to

speak, was very important. The current director of the

Australian also has a unique direction. His grandfather, Sir Raymond Presley, south with Mawson as part of

the shackleton expedition.

What he did and what others of

the heroic era did was place

science at the future of Antarctica. That's the biggest

legacy. We have a big Antarctic program Australia

wide in the Antarctic. Mawson was the one who was the one who set the

foundation for that. On Friday,

100 years to the day, a large

flotilla on the River Derwent will recreate the departure of

Mawson's historic Mawson's historic voyage.

Sport now. First to cricket. Australia's first test against

New Zealand is about to get

under way in Brisbane. New Zealand won the toss and has

elected to bat. Meanwhile,

Australia has finally named its

team, with Queensland paceman Ben Cutting

Ben Cutting the 12th man.

Warner, patinson and Starc make

their test debuts their test debuts for Australia. Captain Mitchell

Clarke says he's looking

forward to seeing the debutants

show their skills I think show their skills I think it will be a and quicken up as the game goes

on. I'm excited they're

getting to bowl for us.

Cutting is 12th man, a tough

selection with the three young quicks getting an opportunity. We've confident

We've gone with this 11, confident they can take confident they can take 20

wickets. I'm most wickets. I'm most impressed with we're trying to get

better. We've trained as better. We've trained as hard as I've seen over the last

couple of days. Which have to

get better and more consistent. We've experienced a few ups and

down periods, but we're down periods, but we're all

enjoying our cricket. We want to

to see the team continue to improve. In domestic cricket,

NSW has scored a hard-fought

five-wicket win over WA to

improve their finals chances in improve their finals chances in

the one-day Cup. The Blues finished their finished their rain-shortened innings on 5/198 after being

given a revised target of 193

to win off 46 overs. Copeland

was in fine form, taking 5/44,

while Smith and Neville put on

an un broken 95-run partnership

to seal the win. In boxing,

Australian Danny Green has suffered knockout defeat. He lost last

night's WBC cruiserweight world

title fight to Poland's vad vad. He was knocked out of the 11th round, the 38-year-old

Australian has hinted it could

be his final appearance in the

ring. Manchester United has been knocked out of English

soccer's League Cup. extra-time goal handed the

extra-time goal handed the Crystal Palace victory. Let's look at some of the highlights. The with the satellite image, a

trough in the east is still

generating showers and strong storms throughout the east coast. A front is spreading colder

colder winds and scattered

showers further south and large high is clearing SA

whilst sending dry, hot and

gusty winds into WA. Taking gusty winds into WA. Taking a

look around the States: look around the States: there

will be thundery rain near the Central Coast of Queensland, with patchy rain further south.

Fine over the west, with severe

fire dangers in the channel

country. Showers and isolated storms storms over the country. quarter of

coast and ranges. Mostly coast and ranges. Mostly sunny

elsewhere. In Victoria -

isolated showers in the

southern and mountain areas, scattered showers south of

Tasmania, clearing later in the

day, mostly fine in the north. day, mostly fine in the central

north. Snow down to 800

metres. Isolated light showers south of about Port Lincoln,

fine and mostly sunny, fine and mostly sunny, though, elsewhere. In the west,

isolated thunderstorms and scattered showers around

Central Coastal regions, moving Top End, mostly sunny around Top

Alice Springs, with a very high

fire warning. Looking ahead to tomorrow:

As always, we invite your

comments on abc News online,

Twitter and Facebook. We're

getting reactions this morning

to the changes in pollie pay entitlements. through cutting the scheme through cutting the scheme for

ex-MPs suggests child care, hospitals, schools, police and

transport, and Tommy Tudehope rights pollie pay rises are

well overdue. Let's hope a higher salary This This morning - Queensland passes civil piling passes civil union legislation, piling pressure on Federal

Labor to recognise gay

marriage. It's about the joyful business of joyful business of love, and

that is why it has touched the

hearts of so many Australians. Also today - Australian

markets set to open higher boosted by moves to halt a

second credit crunch. And

Australia wins the toss, as the summer of cricket begins against New Zealand Brisbane. Good against New

You're with ABC News 24 live across Australia. I'm Jeremy

Fernandez. Let's begin with a check of the weather forecast: