11 September 2012
Andrew asks the Acting Prime Minister if the Federal Government intends to try and overturn any successful Tasmanian move to legislate same-sex marriage.
Mr WILKIE (Denison) (14:27): My question is to the Acting Prime Minister. Acting Prime Minister, you would be aware that the Tasmanian government plans to legislate for marriage equality and the bill has already passed the state lower house. What are the federal government’s intentions in this matter. In particular, does the federal government intend to try to overturn any successful Tasmanian move to legislate for same-sex marriage?
Mr SWAN (Lilley—Deputy Prime Minister and Treasurer) (14:28): I thank the member for Denison for his question. I am aware of the bill to provide for same-sex marriage and it will shortly I think be considered by the Tasmanian Legislative Council. This is a matter which is properly considered by the Tasmanian parliament and it would be inappropriate for the government to offer a running commentary on the progress of the bill. As to the general issue, the member would be aware that the ALP member for Throsby has a bill before this House to provide for same-sex marriage under federal law. When this bill comes before the House, ALP members will be free to vote on it according to their conscience. It is not the case on the other side of the parliament and I think that is regrettable.
Mr Andrews: We stick by our policies.
Ms Macklin: Yes, but not your conscience!
The DEPUTY SPEAKER ( Ms AE Burke ): Order! The member for Menzies. The Acting Prime Minister has the call.
Ms Macklin: So much for the once great—
The DEPUTY SPEAKER: The Minister for Families, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs and Minister for Disability Reform!
Mr SWAN: The Labor Party recognises that this is an issue on which members of our caucus have deeply held personal beliefs and it is therefore appropriate for our members to vote on same sex marriage according to their conscience.
Mr Simpkins: That’s not what you said before.
The DEPUTY SPEAKER: The member for Cowan is warned!
Mr Wilkie: Madam Deputy Speaker, I rise on a point of order as to relevance. I think the Tasmanian community would be very grateful to know simply the answer to the question: does the federal government intend to overturn it if it is successful in the Tasmanian parliament?
The DEPUTY SPEAKER: The Acting Prime Minister had resumed his seat when the member for Denison sought the question. If he is seeking a supplementary, I will advise that there is only one allowed for Independents during a sitting week. That was my understanding; I can stand corrected on that. We have not had one this week and I am just saying that, if he uses it, it is gone for everybody else. The member for Denison has the call.
Mr WILKIE (Denison) (14:30): Madam Deputy Speaker, I ask a supplementary question. Does the federal government—a simple yes or no would be fine, please—intend to try to overturn any successful Tasmanian move to legislate for same-sex marriage?
Mr SWAN (Lilley—Deputy Prime Minister and Treasurer) (14:30): I do not intend to offer a running commentary on the deliberations of the Tasmanian parliament.
Mr Dutton interjecting—
The DEPUTY SPEAKER: The member for Dickson may stuff up his chance to be in the House for much longer!