Monthly Archives: June 2019

The focus of the same sex marriage debate has shifted to the Liberal Party with a senior member changing his stance on the issue.



New South Wales Premier Barry O’Farrell, who had previously opposed same sex marriage, says he’s changed his mind.


Same sex marriage campaigners have welcomed the development, saying they hope the comments will put pressure on the federal Liberals.


Biwa Kwan reports.


An attempt to legalise same sex marriage failed in federal parliament last year.


During the debate, Coalition members were denied a conscience vote on the issue, although Labor politicians were given one.


New South Wales Premier Barry O’Farrell says he’s changed his mind about gay marriage and is now in favour of it.


Mr O’Farrell says it’s probably time to accept that it’s really an issue of fairness.


He says Opposition Leader Tony Abbott should allow his party a conscience vote on the issue if it comes before federal parliament again.


“Governments shouldn’t deny to one section of the community recognition of the commitment and loving relationships they extend to to others. It would be best if it were legislated at a federal level. That’s why we have the Marriage Act 1961 that sets the rules around marriages in the states and territories. Of course given the widespread views on this issue- that if it was to be discussed and debated federally, there should be a conscience vote.”


West Australian Premier Colin Barnett says while he remains opposed to gay marriage, he agrees it should be an issue for a conscience vote.


“I think it’s a conscience issue for most parliaments. I don’t happen to support gay marriage, but I readily acknowledge that increasingly more Australians are. So we’re probably changing our view as a nation on that. I don’t think most Australians are at that point yet, but they will probably get there. But if it’s an issue that comes before Parliament it is a conscience vote issue.”


Rodney Croome, from the group, Australian Marriage Equality, has welcomed Mr O’Farrell’s changed stance.


Mr Croome says he hopes it’s a sign of a broader change in views in support of same sex marriage among conservative politicians.


“What’s really important about Barry O’Farrell’s announcement is that he is supporting marriage equality for conservative reasons. He’s sending the message that this is no longer a left-right issue. This is about equality. This is about family values. It’s about individual freedoms. All things which conservatives can support. And the fact that Barry O’Farrell is right behind this reform I think will encourage other people on the right of Australian politics to do the same.”


Mr Croome says the key reason why New Zealand has successfully legislated same sex marriage when the Australian government failed in its attempt last year is due to the support from the conservative politicians.


“The key reason why marriage equality passed in New Zealand and hasn’t passed yet in Australia is because the conservative party in New Zealand had a conscience vote and that allowed conservatives to vote for marriage equality based no conservative principles like individual freedom, like family values. In Australia, Liberal and National Party MPs don’t have that freedom. And at the very least we’re saying to Tony Abbott, allow that conscience vote so that this reform has a fighting chance.”


A parliamentary inquiry in New South Wales is examining a proposed same sex marriage law.


Mr O’Farrell says he would consider legislating same sex marriage laws in the state if the inquiry finds it possible under the constitution.


But says he would prefer the federal parliament to change the Marriage Act.


Anne Twomey is a professor in constitutional law at the University of Sydney,


She says complex issues would be raised by any move by New South Wales to legalise same sex marriages.


“We don’t know whether the state law would be inoperative because it conflicts with the Commonwealth Marriage Act. And that would depend very much on how the High Court interpreted the Commonwealth Act and whether it was intended to cover the entire field of all kinds of marriage or whether it was just confined to marriage between members of the opposite sex. So that’s one problem. And the second problem is how the New South Wales legislation would fit in with existing regimes in relation to same sex relationships. So at the moment you’ve got de facto legislation at the Commonwealth level that deals with, for example, property issues when relationships break down. So how would New South Wales legislation fit in with that?”


The New South Wales Council of Churches says Mr O’Farrell’s support of same sex marriage is wrong,


It’s urging the federal Opposition leader to stand firm on his refusal to support a change to the Marriage Act.


Tony Abbott says he has not changed his personal views on marriage as being between a man and a woman.


He has hinted at the possibility of a new Coalition approach to same-sex marriage – but only after the September election.


“I know that there are many people who don’t have my view. But my view is the same as John Howard, Kevin Rudd, Julia Gillard, Kim Beazley and that is the orthodox definition of a marriage as between a man and a woman should continue. Our position, my position, going into the next election, is that what our policy is … will be a matter for the post-election party room.”



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Nearly nine months after trudging off Twickenham in defeat, rested All Blacks great Richie McCaw returns to Test rugby against Australia in Sydney on Saturday night.


McCaw will lead a hardened New Zealand side in the opening Bledisloe Cup clash which will expose whether his 32-year-old frame is short of a gallop.

A proven performer in the past with little rugby under his belt, McCaw faces his biggest cobweb-brushing exercise both physically and mentally, having reclaimed the captaincy from Kieran Read.

He stored the boots away after his 116th Test, the heavy loss to England in London on December 1, to pursue other interests at home and overseas.

His return to training two months ago was followed by an 80-minute club game, two late bench appearances for the Crusaders and 40 minutes against Canterbury in an All Blacks squad hitout last Friday.

McCaw will be the second-oldest player to wear No.7 in an All Blacks Test behind 33-year-old Bob Stuart, against France in 1954.

And linking with Read, 27, and flanker Liam Messam, 29, provides New Zealand with its oldest loose forward trio of the professional era. It’s the most grizzled since 30-year-olds Zinzan Brooke, Michael Jones and Mike Brewer faced Australia in 1995.

The front row has also done the hard yards. Prop Tony Woodcock will start his 99th Test and 34-year-old hooker Andrew Hore his 77th, with the lively Crusaders trio of prop Owen Franks and locks Sam Whitelock and Luke Romano rounding out the tight five.

Manawatu teammates Aaron Smith and Aaron Cruden are the halves while inside centre Ma’a Nonu was cleared of an ankle injury and will start his 80th Test.

It is the 70th cap for long-time midfield partner Conrad Smith, playing inside the back three of fullback Israel Dagg and wingerss Julian Savea and Ben Smith.

Cruden replaces the injured Dan Carter in one of six starting changes from the slightly experimental side who beat France 24-9 in the third Test at New Plymouth on June 22.

There are just three differences from what was regarded as the first choice All Blacks XV who crushed the French 30-0 at Christchurch a week earlier.

They see McCaw, Woodcock and Hore replace Sam Cane, the injured Wyatt Crockett and Dane Coles respectively.

Coles was released to play NPC rugby this week, meaning Test centurion Keven Mealamu is the reserve hooker.

Uncapped Crusaders back Ryan Crotty is the reserve outside back cover.

Crotty, 24, was called into the wider training squad on Sunday to replace the injured Francis Saili.

He was promoted onto the Test bench ahead of fullback specialist Charles Piutau due to his midfield prowess, with Carter’s injury robbing New Zealand of inside centre injury coverage.

All Blacks: Israel Dagg, Ben Smith, Conrad Smith, Ma’a Nonu, Julian Savea, Aaron Cruden, Aaron Smith, Kieran Read, Richie McCaw (capt), Liam Messam, Sam Whitelock, Luke Romano, Owen Franks, Andrew Hore, Tony Woodcock. Reserves: Keven Mealamu, Ben Franks, Charlie Faumuina, Brodie Retallick, Sam Cane, Tawera Kerr-Barlow, Beauden Barrett, Ryan Crotty

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Italy has agreed to take in 102 migrants rescued from a leaking dinghy after Malta refused to admit them despite EU pressure, the Maltese government says.


The migrants, including a five-month-old baby and four pregnant women, were rescued from their badly damaged inflatable boat on Monday by the Liberian-flagged Salamis oil tanker 80 kilometres off the Libyan coast.

In a statement released overnight on Wednesday, Malta said the Salamis, which had been moored off the Mediterranean island nation in international waters, was heading for Syracuse in Sicily.

“This development came as the Italian authorities accepted to welcome the migrants who are aboard the MV Salamis. It followed diplomatic contacts between the Italian, Maltese and Greek governments,” the government said.

It said Prime Minister Joseph Muscat personally thanked Italian Prime Minister Enrico Letta.

“Malta’s position during this crisis was always strong, consistent and legitimate. Through this position, Malta sent a strong message,” Muscat was quoted as saying in the statement on Wednesday.

Muscat has sparked controversy with his hardline approach to boat migrants. In July he said the government was considering expelling them, insisting he had to “get the message across that Malta is not a pushover”.

The country refused to allow the 102 migrants aboard the Salamis to land despite a call from the European Commission to do so “as soon as possible” to save lives.

EU Home Affairs Commissioner Cecilia Malmstroem said it was Malta’s “humanitarian duty” and sending the ship back “would be contrary to international law”.

The Maltese government claimed that a patrolling Italian navy ship had ordered the Salamis to take the migrants to the nearest available port, in this case in Libya, but said the captain refused to obey the order.

Muscat said in a tweet on Tuesday that the country meets its international obligations, but “cannot be expected to intervene in place of irresponsible boat owners who defy rules for their commercial needs”.

The Salamis was heading to Malta with a consignment of oil.

Hundreds of thousands of migrants from Africa have braved the seas in dangerously ill-equipped vessels operated by traffickers to get to Italy and other parts of the European Union in recent years, many paying with their lives.

Malta had a record 880 arrivals in July with some 1200 in total having landed on the island so far this year.

On Wednesday, Maltese police said 86 immigrants had been rescued overnight after their dinghy started taking in water, and brought to Malta.

The migrants consisted of 65 men, 17 women and four children who were dehydrated but did not need urgent medical attention, the police said.

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Argentina led for much of the encounter after tries from flanker Juan Manuel Leguizamon and centre Marcelo Bosch, but indiscipline in the final 10 minutes allowed South Africa to edge ahead and hold on for victory.


“We’ve got mixed feelings … We took a step forward with regard to last weekend since we radically changed our image and attitude,” Leguizamon told reporters.

“But we lacked something to have won the match … We needed to be a bit more disciplined with regard to the penalties.”

Bosch said: “We’re left with a bit of a sour taste, feeling we could have won it, but I think the team today still can feel successful for what they gave on the pitch.”

Wing Bjorn Basson scored the visitors’ only try, with Steyn kicking the rest of their points to take them to the top of the four-nation tournament’s standings on points difference from title holders New Zealand.

The Springboks and All Blacks have nine points after two rounds, with Argentina on a single point and Australia yet to break their duck after two defeats against New Zealand.

“I’m not at all surprised by what the Pumas did, they played very well, with a lot of passion playing typical Argentine rugby,” South Africa’s coach Heyneke Meyer said.

It was South Africa’s first away victory in the southern hemisphere’s elite competition since beating New Zealand in Hamilton in 2009.


South Africa, who were held to a 16-16 draw by Argentina in the same fixture in Mendoza last year, had expected a response from the Pumas after their abject display seven days ago.

But while the home side showed more physicality and passion, South Africa were nowhere near as slick as they made numerous handling errors.

Leguizamon barged his way over for the opening try inside four minutes as the Pumas made all the early running.

Steyn and Pumas captain Felipe Contepomi traded penalties after that, before the Springboks hit back to level the score at 10-10, Basson crossing the line unopposed after the visitors spread the ball wide.

Argentina continued to impress with their enterprise and had their second try three minutes before halftime when good play from wing Gonzalo Camacho got them close to the Springbok line and outside centre Bosch crashed over, with Contepomi adding his second conversion.

Steyn added a second penalty, but the Springboks still trailed 17-13 at halftime.

The match threatened to boil over in the second period as first Springbok flanker Francois Louw accused an opponent of eye-gouging, before lock Eben Etzebeth claimed he was bitten.

There was no immediate visual evidence of either incident.

Steyn closed the gap to a point with another penalty five minutes after halftime and his team edged ahead with eight minutes to play after the Pumas were penalised for collapsing a maul.

The Springboks managed to play the remainder of the match in the Argentina half and were rewarded with another penalty when the Pumas again collapsed a maul for Steyn to convert his fifth penalty.

(Reporting by Nick Said in Cape Town; Additional reporting by Rex Gowar)

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