Australia is just one vote away from marriage equality after the Senate signed off on Dean Smith’s marriage bill. Conservative amendments were voted down Tuesday night and by Wednesday afternoon the lightly altered legislation was on its way to the House. Twelve senators voted against the bill and several abstained.

The final hurdle is now to be cleared. According to The Australian ($), Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull is set to support a series of amendments proposed by Attorney-General George Brandis that failed to find support in the Senate. Conservative Coalition MPs will also attempt to revive the clauses proposed by senators David Fawcett and James Paterson.

But it should all be academic. With at least four Coalition MPs set to support the Smith bill as is, it is likely to find passage without amendment after debate next week.

In an extraordinary day, the Victorian Parliament also signed off on an assisted-dying law that will legalise voluntary euthanasia in Australia for the first time since the Commonwealth overrode a Northern Territory law in 1997.

Patients expected to die within 12 moths will be able to receive life-ending drugs once the scheme is introduced in 2019.


US President Donald Trump has retweeted three videos posted by the deputy leader of far-right party Britain First, which depict people who are said to be Muslims committing acts of violence. One shows a boy in crutches being beaten up by another young man, another depicts men being thrown off a roof, and a third shows a man dropping a statue of the Virgin Mary so that it shatters.

The tweets were originally posted by Jaydan Fransen, who Trump does not follow, and picked up by some right-wing pundits in the US. Fransen was convicted of “racially aggravated harassment” of a Muslim woman last year. The context and dates of the videos are unclear and the one allegedly showing a Muslim boy beating up a white Dutch boy on crutches has reportedly been debunked.

A spokesperson for British Prime Minister Theresa May said: “Britain First seeks to divide communities by their use of hateful narratives that peddle lies and stoke tensions. They cause anxiety to law-abiding people.” Labour MPs have called for Trump’s visit to the UK to be cancelled.


Bosnian Croat war criminal dies after drinking poison in UN courtroom 

‘It isn’t our place’: New tape of pro-Beijing comments puts more heat on Dastyari

Manus Island staff forced to leave for their own safety after landowner protest

Teens charged in South Australia for allegedly planning ‘catastrophic’ school massacre


Sydney: Football Federation Australia holds its AGM.

Melbourne: Senior writers and journalists speak at The Age Live: 2017 Year in Review event tonight.

Armidale: Shadow Treasurer Chris Bowen joins Labor candidate David Ewings on the campaign trail in New England.


Impotent outrage from toddlers and trolls is too late. They already lost the argument — Katharine Murphy: “The right foisted the postal survey on the public, some to force a solution on same- sex marriage, some to delay it. This was the right’s process, not some sneaky conspiracy by the prime minister to let progressivism rip. They determined the rules of the game and they lost. That’s the long and short of it. The end.”


How Australia’s strict defamation laws could thwart our ‘Weinstein moment’ — Michael Bradley: “In the US the burden cuts the other way. To have a case, a defamation plaintiff has to prove that what has been published about them is false. If they are a public official, they also have to prove that the publication was made with malicious intent (meaning knowledge or recklessness as to its falseness).”

Farewelling Malcolm Young with hymns, fans and family — Margot Saville: “Sometime in the late 70s, my friend Di and I went to an AC/DC concert in regional Queensland and were invited backstage. After hanging out with the band (Angus was drinking milk out of a bottle and eating Smarties, I remember) we declined their offer to go back to the hotel and asked for a lift home. Like perfect gentlemen, they signed our concert tickets, kissed us rather chastely and deposited us on the doorstep of Di’s house. The bad boys of rock and roll? Not the Young brothers.”

Fate of Pine Gap protesters could set an ugly precedent for free speech — Felicity Ruby: “Under the 2009 changes, made to “deter mischief makers and those with more sinister intent”, the accused face penalties of up to seven years in jail and $42,000 in fines. It is worth noting that UN Rapporteurs criticised Tasmanian and NSW anti-protest laws, which have maximum penalties of less than one-third of that for entering a prohibited area under the Defence (Special Undertakings) Act.”


Peter Fray

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