The Liberal senator Dean Smith has said the parliament should consider a vote on a same-sex marriage bill this term, in contrast to conservative colleagues’ view that no vote should be held without a plebiscite.
Smith, who opposes the government’s proposed plebiscite, is the first Coalition MP to call for a parliamentary vote, which Malcolm Turnbull has not ruled out if the Senate blocks the plebiscite bill as is expected.
THE leading advocacy groups for marriage equality, Australians for Equality (A4E) and Australian Marriage Equality (AME), have launched a new campaign to achieve marriage equality through a parliamentary vote.
The plan is that ‘The Equality Campaign’ will help build on the momentum generated across the country for marriage equality and will roll out a number of videos featuring Australians from around the nation sharing their stories.
This video tells the story of The Equality Campaign: A diverse community of Australians working to achieve marriage equality through a parliamentary vote.
It features everyday Australians — families, couples, friends, young and old, from all corners of the country — who put their hand up to take part, because they want to see marriage equality become a reality in this parliament.
And in doing so they have created a truly special campaign, one we hope will unite our country like never before. They have volunteered to tell us their stories and explain why they believe marriage equality is long overdue.
Research shows that stories and conversations are what change minds on this issue. That’s why the stories of these Aussies who believe in equality are front and centre of the video and will continue to be featured throughout the campaign. Their words, experiences, and feelings are so powerful — they're the stars of The Equality Campaign.
When she was 10 years and nine months old, Georgie Stone became the youngest person in Australia to be granted permission by a court to take hormone blockers, the first stage of medical treatment for transgender children.
During a Senate estimates hearing on Tuesday night, Australian electoral commissioner Tom Rogers told senators he had received no instructions from the government to cease preparations.
Although prime minister Malcolm Turnbull remains optimistic about the chances of the plebiscite going ahead, 40 senators have pledged to vote against it – two more than the 38 needed to block legislation.
“Experience tells me that you don’t know what the numbers are until the votes are finally counted,” Turnbull said earlier this week.
NORWAY will become the first country to offer the HIV preventative drug Truvada through its national health service.
Truvada is the medication taken as part of the pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) treatment for people at risk of acquiring HIV. PrEP has been proven to drastically reduce the risk of acquiring HIV and is currently only available in a few countries including; France, United States, Norway and South Africa.
In Australia, PrEP is available by prescription but because it has not yet been approved to be added to the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS) it can cost hundreds of dollars per prescription. Many Australians who use PrEP import it from overseas, often through collectives such as PrEPAccessNow.
Deputy Labor leader Tanya Plibersek says the opposition could push Malcolm Turnbull to breaking point over action on same-sex marriage, even if it costs him the prime ministership.
With the government's planned legislation for a plebiscite on the issue set to be killed off in the Senate, Ms Plibersek said gay and lesbian families and advocates had told Labor they were prepared to wait in order to avoid a divisive public debate on the issue.
Even as the Labor Party appears to have blunted the chances of the proposed plebiscite into gay marriage this week, the most vociferous opponents of gay marriage have been hitting the airwaves casting doubt and weaving mischief.
Fronting the push from within Parliament is Tasmanian arch-conservative Eric Abetz, whose opposition to gay law reform has deep roots in conservative Christian fringe allegiances in Tasmania and beyond.
Now that the unequivocal horror show that was the national plebiscite has been put to rest, one can’t help but wonder what fresh hell Lyle Shelton and the ACL are preparing to unleash on young members of the Australian LGBTI community in their upstream battle against progress, change and inclusivity.
The same-sex marriage plebiscite is dead in the water after Labor MPs finally agreed to block the proposal in the Senate at a caucus meeting on Tuesday.
The decision casts marriage equality off into the never-never, with the Turnbull government adamant a plebiscite is the only way of achieving reform in this term of Parliament, and one Coalition MP already threatening to bring down the government if that is changed.
A NSW mum says she is exasperated at an Australian law that means her daughter’s wedding has not been recognised.
Cath Flack-Crane, from Wollongong, is one of a number of ordinary Australians - including a Vietnamese grandmother, a couple of straight mates and even a pair of gay beef farmers - who are the new front line in a push to get same-sex marriage legalised sooner rather than later.
Marriage equality campaigners will launch a new TV commercial this week — to be broadcast on channels 7, 9 and 10 and Foxtel — featuring real people calling for the law to be changed.
News.com.au has been given exclusive behind-the-scenes access to the commercial, and the people who volunteered to have their faces beamed into homes across the country.
Advocates say the likely death of a plebiscite on the contentious issue means new tactics are needed.
The new ad sees a diverse group of people, both gay and straight, come together to paint a logo of a multicoloured map of Australia — emblazoned with the word ‘equality’ — on a park wall.
While the marriage equality plebiscite seems all but doomed to be blocked in the Senate, Australia's LGBTI community is pushing forward with a new call for a free vote in parliament.
Labor has committed to voting against the plebiscite bill, meaning that even though the bill passed the House last week, the government will not have enough numbers to pass the legislation in the Senate. Coalition members have said that the plebiscite is the only way forward for marriage equality in the near future, but marriage equality campaigners are gearing up to lobby hard for a free vote in the parliament instead.
Australian Marriage Equality will screen a new ad on free-to-air and pay TV. The push is called 'The Equality Campaign' and its opening salvo is this video featuring a community coming together to paint a rainbow coloured map of Australia on a blank wall, surrounded by tags like 'for my mums', 'for fairness', 'for commitment' and 'for love'.
"Australians are coming together like never before to ensure every couple is treated fairly under the law," reads the video's tagline.
A second man taking the daily HIV-prevention pill Truvada has been infected by a rare drug-resistant strain of the virus.
The results were presented by Cleveland Clinic HIV specialist Howard Grossman, who unveiled the finding at the 2016 HIV Research for Prevention conference in Chicago on Tuesday.
The patient, who is not releasing his name or age to protect his privacy, is a gay man who had been taking the drug daily since January 2016. Hair and blood tests confirmed that he had the appropriate blood levels of the pill’s two drugs — tenofovir and emtricitabine — to offer the nearly 99% protection it offers from the virus when taken daily.
The patient’s long-term partner is HIV-positive but on treatment, with an undetectable viral load in his body. On two occasions and with two separate people, however, the couple had condomless sex with a third person.
Grossman found that the patient’s strain of HIV was resistant to both of the drugs in Truvada, as well as all of the other drugs in its class, which work by blocking one of the enzymes needed by the virus to reproduce. The new strain did not match his partner’s, meaning that the multi-drug-resistant virus must have been transmitted during one of the two sexual encounters.
The man, who is now HIV-positive, is on a mixture of antiretroviral drugs and has his infection under control, Grossman said.
What’s so wonderfully refreshing about Sivan, in contrast to the confected, cotton candy breeziness of YouTube, where all gay narratives must have sunny, uplifting endings, is that there is an identifiable honesty and grittiness to his music. Especially in the Blue Neighbourhood trilogy of songs—“WILD,” “FOOLS,” and “TALK ME DOWN”—there is beauty and loveliness to be found but also trepidation, marginalization, and the disappointment of unfulfilled dreams. His portrayal of what it is like to be a young gay man on the cusp of adulthood works precisely because it rings true.
AUSTRALIA’S first openly gay Aboriginal member of parliament, Chansey Paech, has used his maiden speech to champion marriage equality and condemn homophobia in government.
Speaking at the opening 13th parliament of the Northern Territory yesterday, Labor’s member for Namatjira said it was a dream of his to be able to stand proud in the future and talk about the positive difference he had made.
The plebiscite is dead, so what now? For same-sex marriage, the answer is almost certainly a stalemate. Instead of reform, expect further rounds of politicians blaming each other for not delivering an outcome favoured by most of the community and most of our elected representatives.
But this failure has implications for other debates. The long-running saga has denied the Prime Minister the opportunity to build momentum elsewhere. It has also crowded out talk of another national vote scheduled for 2017, namely the referendum to recognise Aboriginal peoples in the constitution.
Turnbull has stuck with the plebiscite, fulfilling his pledge as a precondition for regaining the leadership and of preserving the coalition with the Nationals. He will stick with it until the bitter end, and it will be bitter. After that, anything could happen.
It used to be that climate change killed off Australian political leaders. Now it is same-sex marriage. It was the issue that finally destroyed Abbott’s prime ministership. He won the partyroom battle against a free vote, then lost the war.
There is no reason history could not repeat itself. It can erode or destroy Turnbull’s leadership if he mishandles it, say by keeping one side or the other in the dark about his intentions and they do likewise. Which is why Bill Shorten will continue to play wedge politics, keeping the issue alive and stoking the nastiness he claims to want to avoid by voting down the plebiscite and which exists, plebiscite or not.
If Shorten were seriously concerned about the mental wellbeing of the children of gay people he would stop using them as pawns, or as the human shields in the frontline of his plan to destroy Turnbull.
Over the past 14 months we have sadly been debating process, rather than the substantive reform. Let's be clear, amending the marriage act to allow for same-sex and gender diverse couples to marry is a straightforward change of a few words, which will cost nothing and benefit so many.
It's important that we acknowledge the reality that blocking the plebiscite will not achieve marriage equality, nor will it stop the campaign of the opponents of reform. One of the loudest arguments against the plebiscite has been the concern the damage that could be done to the LGBTI community by the words and tactics of the more extreme opponents, which have always been used to distract and demean. We shouldn't think they will pack up their game plan and leave us alone. To prevent a sustained and intense campaign against same-sex couples and families we must now work with our supporters across the political spectrum to achieve reform by the end of the year.
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