Liberal senator Dean Smith’s private member’s bill has been introduced to Federal Parliament.
The bill was introduced just hours after the results of Australia’s same sex marriage postal survey were announced on Wednesday morning.
Mr Smith’s bill replaced one drafted by fellow Liberal senator James Paterson, and Attorney-General George Brandis is expected to flag at least two amendments.
Liberal senator Dean Smith’s private member’s bill has been introduced to Federal Parliament (pictured are Labor Senator Louise Pratt, Australian Greens Senator Janet Rice, Liberal Senator Dean Smith, Nick Xenophon Team Senator Skye Kakoschke-Moore, Labor Senator and Leader of the Opposition in the Senate Penny Wong and Derryn Hinch’s Justice Party Senator Derryn Hinch)
The amendments will aim to extend religious protections to civil celebrants, and ensure personal opinions on same-sex marriage are not made unlawful.
Mr Paterson released a statement on Facebook late in the afternoon saying: ‘It is clear the majority of senators believe my colleague Dean Smith’s Bill is where we should start’.
Debate on the same-sex marriage legislation is due to start in the upper house on Thursday.
Mr Brandis expects the Senate will deal with the bill by the end of the next sitting week on November 30.
The bill was introduced just hours after the results of Australia’s same sex marriage postal survey were announced on Wednesday morning (pictured is Dean Smith)
The Turnbull Government has said they hope to legalise gay marriage as soon as possible, most likely before Christmas.
Labor Senator Penny Wong called on parliament to bear the postal survey result in mind.
‘Australians have done their part and it is now time for the Senate to do its part,’ she said.
‘Australians have voted very clearly to change the law and it’s time for the Parliament to reflect that perspective.
‘We have the view that the Australian people voted to lessen discrimination and not to extend it.
‘We also take the view that the bill does not change or take away any existing protections for religious freedoms.’
Ms Wong’s views were echoed by Green’s leader Richard Di Natale.
‘I would say to all people who support ending discrimination in this place, think very carefully about entrenching discrimination in this place just to appease your colleagues, rather than listening to the Australian people who spoke clearly,’ he said.
The debate was adjourned until 9:30am Thursday.