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Politics live: Senate passes same-sex marriage as Sam Dastyari faces attacks over links to Chinese donor

  • the Senate has voted in support of same-sex marriage 43 votes to 12;
  • the legislation will now go to the House of Representatives on Monday;
  • this is the furthest any same-sex marriage bill has progressed in the federal Parliament;
  • in other news, Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull has questioned Labor senator Sam Dastyari's loyalty to Australia;
  • Senator Dastyari is in trouble following the revelation he warned a Chinese political donor his phone was being tapped;
  • Opposition Leader Bill Shorten has put the controversial senator on notice.

Same-sex marriage passes the Senate

There've been cheers and hugs as the same-sex marriage bill passes the Senate with an overwhelming majority.

Time for me to call it a day. What happened?

  • the Senate has voted in support of same-sex marriage 43 votes to 12;
  • the legislation will go to the House of Representatives on Monday;
  • this is the furthest any same-sex marriage bill has progressed in the federal Parliament;
  • in other news, Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull has questioned Labor senator Sam Dastyari's loyalty to Australia;
  • Senator Dastyari is in trouble following the revelation he warned a Chinese political donor his phone was being tapped;
  • Opposition Leader Bill Shorten has put the controversial senator on notice; and
  • Mr Turnbull has referred section 44 of the constitution to a parliamentary committee for examination.

My thanks to Alex Ellinghausen for his superb work and to you for reading and commenting.

You can follow me on Facebook.

Alex and I will be back in the morning. Until then, enjoy your evening.

The media industry's night of nights, the Walkley Awards, are being held tonight.

My dear colleague Alex Ellinghausen is one of three nominees for Nikon-Walkley Press Photographer of the Year

This year Alex has produced some incredible photographs. Just at the weekend he did this photo essay of Pauline Hanson on election night. Earlier this year he was at Uluru. And before that he photographed the men of Manus Island.

I'm sharing this picture from the Australian Open to demonstrate Alex can shoot everything.

Roger Federer during the men's finals of the Australian Open in January 2017.
Roger Federer during the men's finals of the Australian Open in January 2017. Photo: Alex Ellinghausen

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull is referring "a number of matters relating to citizenship and the operation of section 44 of the constitution" to the parliamentary committee that looks at electoral matters.

"Australia is the most successful multicultural society in the world and around a half of our citizens were either born overseas or have a parent born overseas. These Australians may be citizens of another country and, as we have seen with several members and senators, not be aware of it," Mr Turnbull said in a statement.

The committee has been asked "to examine how our electoral laws can be improved to minimise the risk of candidates being found to be ineligible in the future and what, if any, changes should be made to section 44 (i) of the constitution".

Mr Turnbull says people "expect us to resolve the citizenship issue once and for all" and the inquiry "will help us ensure similar issues do not affect future parliaments".

You can see how senators voted here.

Senators voting against the Marriage Amendment Bill during the vote in the Senate on Wednesday.
Senators voting against the Marriage Amendment Bill during the vote in the Senate on Wednesday. Photo: Alex Ellinghausen

Opposition Leader Bill Shorten has released a statement on the same-sex marriage legislation.

"It is a great day for LGBTIQ Australians, their families, friends and all who love them. Taking such a significant step toward equality makes Australia a better place for all," he said.

But there's always time for politics.

"Unfortunately, debate of this bill in the lower house has been delayed due to Prime Minister Turnbull's refusal to turn up to work in Canberra today. It is frustrating no further progress can be made this week. Nevertheless, Labor calls on members of the House of Representatives to expedite the passage of this bill next week." 

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And that's it for question time.

Senator Brandis is on a roll, and moves to same-sex marriage.

"All but a few of our colleagues have come together to celebrate marriage equality," Senator Brandis says.

"It took the Turnbull government to do it so that's what true leadership looks like."

Back in the Senate and question time has begun.

Attorney-General George Brandis is talking about Senator Dastyari.

He accuses him of "chicanery" and says his responses have been "woefully inadequate".

Greens leader Richard Di Natale says "there aren't many days in this job that fill you with sheer, unadulterated joy. But this is one of them".

"We've given a nation so much grief and despair over recent months, but today we have filled Australia with love. Love has made its way through the Senate. It is unstoppable now through the House. This is such a great occasion. It is a great moment."

"What we've seen today is the Parliament at its finest, working together, working together with a common cause and that common cause was equality and love."

"I'm a bit lost for words. That doesn't happen very often," Labor senator Penny Wong says at an impromptu press conference.

"I said in the chamber today that it is always a privilege to stand in the chamber, but there are days when you feel like you are part of changing the nation, sometimes for the better and sometimes not so."

"This is an important day, a day of great celebration for so many people across this country. The only thing I want to do is to thank people."

Leader of the Opposition in the Senate Penny Wong embraces Liberal senator Dean Smith after the Marriage Amendment Bill ...
Leader of the Opposition in the Senate Penny Wong embraces Liberal senator Dean Smith after the Marriage Amendment Bill goes through the Senate on Wednesday. Photo: Alex Ellinghausen
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And to shouts of joy and applause, the Senate votes in support of same-sex marriage 43 to 12.

Senator Penny Wong claps as the Marriage Amendment Bill passes the Senate on Wednesday.
Senator Penny Wong claps as the Marriage Amendment Bill passes the Senate on Wednesday. Photo: Alex Ellinghausen

Senator Smith: " The good book says that hope deferred makes the heart sick, but a longing fulfilled is a tree of life. We can say today after so long that our hopes are no longer deferred." 

"This debate has been good for the soul of the country. It has been good for the soul of this chamber and it will be good for the souls of LGBTI children throughout our great country. It has been good for us all."

"Unity, diversity, generosity. They are the hallmark of this bill. They are the hallmark of this chamber and they are the hallmark of our shared great country - Australia."

"I commend the bill and move that it be read a third time."

Senator Smith: "The bill is the fulfilment of the people's will to extend equality to all citizens and it takes away no religious or civil right from anyone. To those who have opposed
this bill, I say there is enormous goodwill to ensure this is not triumph of one group over another."

"So, like much of what we do here, most of the real winners we will never meet. We will never truly know what it means for the young Australian boy or girl who is working out that they are gay or lesbian or intersex or transgender. They will quickly realise they have nothing to fear. We will never meet the thousands of families that will bless their children at marriage ceremonies that will occur because of this bill."

"Those parents do not think of their children as LGBTI. They think of them by their name. To their parents, they have no rainbow initial because they only see them as flesh and blood. They are kin and that is what matters most."

Liberal senator Dean Smith is the final speaker before the vote.

He is recounting how he was inspired to change his views on same-sex marriage by the story of Tori Johnson, who died in the Lindt siege.

"Tori lost his life in the Lindt terrorist siege. He was brave, he was courageous and he had a partner named Thomas. On that flight I thought of their love, I thought of their loss and it changed me. I realised that people with real lives deserve their love to be blessed and affirmed by the institution ofmarriage if they so choose."

"In a time when institutions are questioned, we have seen in this debate how our Parliament was meant to work, where life experience informed decisions, were amendments were debated and assessed against good argument and where we debate according to an argument's merits, rather than taking the political short cut of questioning each other's motives or integrity."

"The real question out of this debate is why isn't our Parliament like this more often?"

One Nation leader Pauline Hanson says she will be abstaining from voting on same-sex marriage legislation.

Junior minister Concetta Fierravanti-Wells will vote against the legislation.

She says it is a "difficult day" for people who voted 'no'.

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Resources Minister Matt Canavan is voting against the legislation.

"I always said I would recognise and respect the wishes of the Queensland people, but I would not vote for a bill that compromised human rights in my view. I unfortunately, cannot support this unamended bill because I do not think we have made these changes in a way which advances rights fully through this process."

"I do again congratulate those who will see this change occur. It is unfortunate I cannot join them in support of this bill and I thank the Senate."

Attorney-General George Brandis speaks: "It is well-known that some years ago, some time ago, I was not a supporter of the plebiscite, but I am so glad it happened this way. I am so glad that we involved every man and woman in Australia in this historic decision. I am so delighted that the result was an overwhelming 'yes'. I am so grateful for the grace and decency of those who were not persuaded to change in the way that they have accepted the result."

"I am so proud of Australian democracy today, more proud than I have ever been. Nobody owns this result but the Australian people themselves. I am not going to repeat the remarks I made yesterday, but I merely say that we should acknowledge and respect the historic nature of this occasion in respecting it, we should respect those who decide they do not want to support this bill, but, as it is evident, a clear majority of the chamber do."

"We should rejoice in what the Australian people have achieved this year."

Labor senator Penny Wong: "The aspiration for equality is the hallmark of our progress. So, today, we stand on the cusp of a remarkable achievement and an historic event, and we pause briefly to reflect just for a moment of what we are a part."

"We are a part of an act of acceptance, an act of inclusion, an act of respect, an act of celebration, a day when this Senate declares our acceptance of our LGBTIQ brothers and our sisters."

"This day would not have come without the courage and dedication of all who have campaigned, and it would not have come without the decision of the Australian people to vote yes. And in that vote, the grace and decency of our countrymen and women shone through. And in voting yes they pushed our Parliament to do what should be done. We may be their representatives, but in this, they have been our leaders."

Leader of the Opposition in the Senate Penny Wong during debate on the Marriage Amendment Bill on Wednesday.
Leader of the Opposition in the Senate Penny Wong during debate on the Marriage Amendment Bill on Wednesday. Photo: Alex Ellinghausen

Well, the business that could not be moved has now been moved.

There has been some fancy footwork on the floor to extend debate until 2 pm which means people can speak but a vote can also be held.

(Stopping people from speaking can produce unintended consequences.)

The Greens amendments to the same-sex marriage legislation have been rejected.

The time for the debate runs out at 12.45 pm; there is other business that could not be moved.

Whether or not a vote on same-sex marriage happens while you're having lunch depends on how many people want to speak and for how long they speak.

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