Inquiry into the Marriage Legislation Amendment Bill
June 2004, the Senate referred the above Bill to the Senate Legal and
Constitutional Legislation Committee for inquiry and report by 7
Due to the prorogation of the 40 th Parliament and the dissolution of the House of Representatives on 31 August 2004, the Committee has determined not to continue its inquiry. All hearings have been cancelled. If the Bill is reintroduced in the new Parliament, the Senate can again refer it to the Committee for inquiry.
the Marriage Act 1961 to define marriage as the union of a man and
a woman to the exclusion of all others, voluntarily entered into for life;
and to confirm that unions solemnised overseas between same sex couples
will not be recognised as marriages in Australia; and
the Family Law Act 1975 to prevent intercountry adoptions by same
sex couples under multilateral or bilateral agreements or arrangements.
In examining the Bill, the Committee has been directed to consider:
the legal interpretation of the marriage power in the Constitution, and
the extent of this power with regard to the creation of marriage law and
the recognition of foreign marriages;
whether the Bill raises international comity issues, or inconsistency
with laws, policies and standards of domestic and overseas
whether the Bill breaches international instruments including the Hague
Convention and human rights mechanisms prohibiting discrimination on the
grounds of sexual orientation;
whether the Treaties relied upon in Schedule  of the Bill provide the
Commonwealth with the necessary power to act, and how this action
interferes with state and territory responsibilities to legislate for
and to run adoption processes;
the consequences of the Bill becoming law, and those remaining avenues
available to the Commonwealth for legally recognising inter-personal
relationships including same-sex relationships;
the government's insistence that this Bill be introduced as a matter of
urgency when there has been no demonstrated reason for its urgent
introduction and no community consultation on the provisions of the
General Notes to Assist in the Preparation of Submissions
called for by 30 July 2004. Submissions become Committee
documents and are only made public after a decision by the Committee.
Unauthorised release of submissions is not covered by parliamentary privilege.
Further assistance can be obtained by phoning the secretariat on (02)
The Committee encourages the lodgement of submissions in electronic
form to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Please ensure that a postal address and phone number is enclosed with
all email submissions.
Submissions may also be faxed to (02) 6277 5794.
Friday 3 September 2004
Canberra - Room 2S1
Tuesday 14 September 2004
Melbourne - St James Court Convention Centre
Report - Tabled 6 September 2004
For further information
Senate Legal and Constitutional Committee
Room S1.61, Parliament House
Canberra ACT 2600
Telephone: (02) 6277 3560
Fax: (02) 6277 5794