With the discussion reignited last week by Ireland's decision to legalise same-sex marriage, opposition leader, Bill Shorten, has today introduced a private member's bill to parliament in support of altering the marriage act. His speech outlined the simple measures involved in making the change — "our legislation proposes a new definition: 'a union of two people'" — while also addressing the religious concerns, stating that all faiths "will be free to choose if they consecrate same sex marriages. Let the same respect allow Australians to freely choose who they marry, without vilification or judgment."
Watch the full speech below, courtesy of ABC TV.
In the lead-up to today's address, many supporters requested that Shorten delay the introduction of the legislation until a later date when a Coalition minister was prepared to co-sponsor the bill. Labor senate leader Penny Wong, herself in a long term same-sex relationship, responded to these requests, saying that "there's a lot of chat, but we've had 14 months with a bill proposed by Tanya (Plibersek) offering bipartisanship, no-one stepped up". She also added that "it's time Tony Abbott was made to do the right thing."
Wong was present in the chamber, as well as a large contingent of Labor ministers, to witness Shorten's speech this morning. Meanwhile, on the other side of the house, only six Coalition MPs were in attendance.