Page 3583 - Week 12 - Tuesday, 22 October 2013

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These 25 amendments meet none of those clauses. This matter is not urgent. I appreciate that it has some political heat, and I appreciate that it is a matter of sensitivity, but it is not urgent. The second ground is that it is minor or technical in nature. These amendments are being made to make changes to a piece of legislation that affect its constitutionality—whether it is valid under our constitution or not. It could not be argued that these amendments are minor or technical. And they are not in response to a comment made by the scrutiny committee.

These amendments are not in order. We simply cannot allow them to proceed. If the government cannot even adhere to the standing orders of the Legislative Assembly, it does very little to strengthen their argument that the laws that are being passed today are constitutionally valid. So we should not be proceeding with amendments that are not in order.

Question resolved in the affirmative, with the concurrence of an absolute majority.

Detail stage

MR CORBELL (Molonglo—Attorney-General, Minister for Police and Emergency Services, Minister for Workplace Safety and Industrial Relations and Minister for the Environment and Sustainable Development) (11.43): I move amendments Nos 1 to 25 circulated in my name together [see schedule 1 at page 3650]. I table a supplementary explanatory statement to the amendments.

As the government has outlined and as I have outlined in my comments in the in-principle debate, these amendments are designed to address a range of issues that have arisen in a recent legal opinion provided to the government. They are consequential amendments designed to clarify further the intention of the bill. The amendments clarify that this is a law for same-sex marriage and that the ACT is not seeking to legislate in an area of law already governed by the commonwealth under the Marriage Act 1961.

Consistent with the bills introduced in the Tasmanian and New South Wales parliaments, the government is seeking to create a new and distinct category of marriage within the scope of the ACT’s authority, leaving the commonwealth to continue to legislate for marriage between a man and a woman. These amendments remove any ambiguity about the purpose of the bill and clarify the intention that the ACT’s legislation will sit beside the commonwealth marriage laws.

I will turn briefly to amendment No 1, which is an amendment to the long title. Amendment No 1 and amendment No 2, along with the amendment to the long title, are proposed to clearly define the scope of the act. The first amendment changes the long title of the bill so that the intention and purpose of the bill are completely clear.

The Marriage Equality (Same Sex) Bill will provide for marriage equality by allowing for marriage between two adults of the same sex. The amendment clarifies that the ACT does not seek to challenge the commonwealth’s ability to legislate for marriage between a man and a woman. This law will permit same-sex couples who cannot

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