Religious exemptions relating to marriage equality could be dealt with after Christmas, according to reports in News Corp ($) and Fairfax papers today.

Losing ground, conservatives in the Coalition have been discussing which provisions from Senator James Paterson’s now abandoned alternative bill they will try to have inserted into Senator Dean Smith’s bill. But with senior figures like Peter Dutton now calling for the issue of religious exemptions to be held over to the new year, it’s possible a lightly amended Smith bill could find passage before Christmas.

Angry over the way the debate is headed, some conservatives are now plotting revenge, with Nationals Senator Barry O’Sullivan set to back ($) a cross-party bill to establish a royal commission into the banking sector, according to The Australian Financial Review. The bill would be expected to easily pass the Senate and could sneak through the lower house, where the citizenship saga has made numbers difficult for the government.


The New South Wales Parliament has rejected a bill to legalise assisted dying.

Late last night, the state’s upper house voted 20-19 against the proposed law, which would have allowed terminally ill patients over the age of 25 to access life-ending drugs. The bill was spearheaded by Nationals MLC Trevor Khan and would have still needed approval from the state’s lower house — the Legislative Assembly — it it had been passed last night. MPs were granted a conscience vote on the matter.

The failed bid to introduce euthanasia laws in NSW comes as Victoria’s upper house debates a similar government bill. It is expected that bill will be passed with amendments, meaning it will then be sent back to the state’s lower house for final approval.


United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres and the heads of the World Food Program, UNICEF, and the World Health Organisation are pushing Saudi Arabia to allow food and other supplies into Yemen, currently the subject of an air and sea blockade.

Saudi Arabia introduced the blockade on November 6, exacerbating a crisis already fuelled by the country’s civil and proxy war. Around 2200 people have been killed by cholera in the past six months with an estimated 7 million on the brink of famine. The US says that number could increase to 10 million if relief is not provided to the Houthi-controlled ports currently being blocked.

Fuel stocks could run out in days, leaving water stations unable to pump supply around the country.

The ABC revealed this week that the Royal Australian Navy engaged in a training drill with the Saudi Navy in the Red Sea on August 14. After questions from The Greens, Defence Minister Marise Payne told parliament Australia had not supported any actions against Yemen.


Women paid $26,527 less than men per year — but gender pay gap narrowing

Green Andrew Bartlett under eligibility cloud after just four days in the Senate

Jacinda Ardern’s Manus stance stretches the trans-Tasman friendship ($)

Leonardo da Vinci painting sells for record $591 million at auction in New York


Bonn: The final day of the COP23 climate talks will be held.

Darwin: Final report of the Royal Commission into the Protection and Detention of Children in the Northern Territory expected to be released.

Melbourne: Final day of campaigning before the Northcote byelection.

Wyong: Senator Cory Bernardi holds a Q&A on the NSW Central Coast. The Australian Conservatives party has been officially registered in the state.


Same-sex marriage: For once, not succumbing to the error of our times — Laura Tingle (Australian Financial Review $): “Politics is a tough business and one of bitter compromise. Every so often it restores us to see that it is not always an exercise in the loudest mowing down everyone in their path.”

Postal vote aftermath: Malcolm Turnbull should put reactionary MPs to the sword — Catherine McGregor (Sydney Morning Herald): “Despite his own disingenuous and contemptible attempts to link gender variance, defective parenting and other risible distractions to same-sex marriage Abbott failed dismally. He is the biggest loser out of this rout.”


Trouble In Paradise: The mysteries of Bowen — Guy Rundle: “Bowen, a once-proud city, slowly curling up in the sun, runs with secrets and conspiracies, searching for reasons why it all went wrong, and how they might get it back.”

Yes victory was our Macron moment — Helen Razer: “This is not to malign queer people by calling all their concerns ‘centrist’ — certainly, the fact of elder poverty is not a matter that the sensible centre would bother to address. It is to suggest that the LGBT category, through little fault of its own, has begun to function as an indicator of Western advancement.”

Revealed: Fox AGM shows democracy done Rupert Murdoch-style — Stephen Mayne: “Strip out the 364.3 million votes controlled by the board (311 million with the Murdochs and 53.3 million with Value-Act’s Jeffrey Ubben) and only 48.2 million votes or some 6% of the 798.4 million voting shares on issue backed the board’s view that the Murdochs should remain in undemocratic control.”



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Peter Fray
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