Thursday, 7 December 2017
Marriage Amendment (Definition and Religious Freedoms) Bill 2017; Consideration in Detail
I'll keep this very, very brief. These amendments are totally unnecessary. This is a marriage bill; this is not the time to be changing the Charities Act, the Income Tax Assessment Act or the Fringe Benefits Tax Assessment Act.
Religious charities provide essential services for our community—there's no question about that. And we should recognise their fantastic charitable work. Their charitable status will not be affected by their stance on marriage, in the same way that charities that support marriage equality haven't had their charitable status revoked. The charities commissioner and the tax commissioner both confirmed there's no need for this amendment, so now is not the time to rewrite other laws which have nothing to do with marriage. This bill already strikes the right balance. The Senate voted for it and so should we. Australians have waited long enough for marriage equality. We can deliver it today. Let's get it done!