Flagpost is a blog on current issues of interest to members of the Australian Parliament

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The passage of private members’ and senators’ bills through the Parliament

If, as is expected, Senator Dean Smith’s private senator’s bill, the Marriage Amendment (Definition and Religious Freedom) Bill 2017, passes the House of Representatives, it will be only the 29th private senators’ or members’ bill to be passed into law by the federal Parliament since Federation. Read more...

Known unknowns about the same sex marriage survey

Following its failure to reintroduce the Plebiscite (Same-Sex Marriage) Bill 2016 to the Senate Notice Paper, the Government has directed the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) to conduct a survey of all electors ‘about whether the law should be changed to allow same-sex couples to marry’. In the absence of enabling legislation, and with no historical precedent of the ABS running a national survey of all electors, there remain many unanswered questions as to how the vote will proceed, both in terms of law and logistics. Read more...

High Court decides the ACT’s same-sex marriage law is invalid

Today, 12 December 2013, the High Court decided unanimously that the ACT’s Marriage Equality (Same Sex) Act 2013 cannot operate concurrently with the federal Marriage Act 1961. The Court held that the federal Parliament has power under the Australian Constitution to legislate with respect to same sex marriage, and that under the Constitution and federal law as it now stands, whether same sex marriage should be provided for by law is a matter for the federal Parliament.BackgroundThe right to marry is the one significant remaining difference between the legal treatment of same-sex and heterosexual relations in Australia. While there has been a shift in community and political opinion, the issu... Read more...

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