Time to right the wrongs over same-sex marriage
IT is time for our federal parliament to right its wrongs on same-sex marriage.
In 2004, two same-sex couples, who both married earlier in Canada, sought clarification of their marriage status in Australia. Their cases were set to be heard in the Family Court on 23 August 2004.
The then prime minister, John Howard, being made aware of this, raced through legislation to ensure that same-sex couples could neither marry in Australia nor have same-sex marriages conducted overseas recognised in Australia.
The Marriage Amendment Bill 2004 was introduced to the parliament on June 24, 2004 and included, for the first time, a definition of marriage as the union of a man and a woman to the exclusion of all others, voluntarily entered into for life.
The bill further stated that: Certain unions are not marriages. A union solemnised in a foreign country between: (a) a man and another man; or (b) a woman and another woman; must not be recognised as a marriage in Australia. The bill was rushed through ensuring it was passed into law before the application was heard in the Family Court. Amendment of the Marriage Act (1961) received royal assent on 16 August 2004, exactly one week before the hearing in the Family Court. Due to the new legislation being enacted, the application to the Family Court was withdrawn.
We must also remember that the issue of same-sex marriage is about not only human rights but also equality for all. Whether a civil or religious marriage takes place, the marriage is legally binding. Therefore only a change to the Marriage Act 2004 by the federal parliament can make same-sex marriage a reality in this country.
It is now the responsibility of all elected members of parliament to deal with this and overturn Howard's stunt and right his wrong. It doesn't need a plebiscite or a postal vote. Simply a free vote in Parliament.
- Ron Egeberg, Soldiers Hill
The will of the people must be supported
IF the senate cannot support the will of the people, then it is high time the senate was removed from the parliamentary process.
- Bill Dobell, Sebastopol
Make pension payments a level playing field
THE Shorten Labor Party is spot on about bringing fairness and equality into our society, and to start on this crusade, I trust they will start with fairness and equality in retirement pensions.
Politicians' pensions are tens of thousands per annum greater than the aged pension and they are not subject to an income or assets test, as for the aged pension. Many politicians are millionaires, but still get a taxpayer-funded pension. Perhaps they could bring the aged pension up to the same rate as politicians' pensions, but then that would not be fair and equitable to the taxpayer.
That leaves the only solution to this problem and that is the pollies' pensions should be the same as the aged pension. I trust both our state and federal members from all sides of politics write to this column with their views on how to get fairness and equality into retirement incomes.
- Keith Pitman, Alfredton
Who pays for the stolen power at grow houses?
I WAS very surprised to learn from your newspaper (August 2, 2017) that the police had closed down 77 grow houses, arrested 27 suspects and discovered more than 10,000 cannabis plants. These do not grow without light and heat, and from reports from police, meters are bypassed and the electricity to grow this illegal drug is stolen from the grid. I would like to be assured that this stolen power is not apportioned onto the accounts of the general public. Perhaps this could explain the high bills.
- Ken Russell, Enfield