Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2009 Week 13 Hansard (11 November) . . Page.. 4791..
Ms Le Couteur
Question so resolved in the affirmative.
Bill agreed to in principle.
Clauses 1 to 5, by leave, taken together and agreed to.
MR CORBELL (Molonglo-Attorney-General, Minister for the Environment, Climate Change and Water, Minister for Energy and Minister for Police and Emergency Services) (10.58): I move amendment No 1 circulated in my name [see schedule 1 at page 4908].
This amendment adds words at the beginning of proposed new paragraph 6A(b) to provide that; unless the couple are able to marry under the Marriage Act, they may, under this act, make a declaration before a civil partnership notary. Since the Marriage Act now states that marriage is a union of a man and a woman, it is necessary to exclude those couples and many provisions of the Civil Partnerships Act that may be thought similar to a marriage ceremony. So this is a provision that deals with heterosexual couples being able to access a ceremony through the provisions of the Civil Partnerships Act.
I refer members again to the considered and lengthy opinion that the government has received from Mr Jackson QC and Mr Gageler SC that indicates that, insofar as the territory makes laws to provide for a ceremony between a man and a man and a woman and a woman, it is not contrary to the Marriage Act. But insofar as we may make laws that provide for a legally recognised ceremony between a man and a woman, it is contrary to the Marriage Act.
This is the issue that the government is seeking to put beyond doubt. I was absolutely stunned that the shadow attorney-general stood up in this place, having had the benefit of reading this detailed opinion from Gageler and Jackson, and simply dismissed it without any supporting argument whatsoever. She said she had received advice on the matter-
MADAM DEPUTY SPEAKER: Members, as it is now 11 am, I ask you to stand for one minute's silence.