Liveblog – the marriage equality debate.

Morning, folks. Kicking off the #marriageequality debate soon, though a conscience vote looks to be a foregone conclusion. #alpnc

8.45am And, we’re off. First up, delegates will pass a motion recognising today as International Day of People with Disability. #alpnc

This is a suspension of standing orders, so the agenda is interrupted. Have to wonder about this move, coming right before the #marriageequality debate. Is this designed to be a pointed reminder that it’s ‘less important’, a ‘second-tier’ issue?

8.54am If this is an attempt to pull the focus off #marriageequality, it’s a pretty poor one. #alpnc

8.57am Gillard makes the point that PMs don’t usually move motions at #alpnc. Underscores this as a political move. Pretty dirty politics.

I receive a tweet from @AustralianLabor telling me that ‘We are celebrating International Day of People with Disability and the great reform that Labor is working to implement #NDIS'(National Disability Insurance Scheme) … presumably in response to my tweets about this motion possibly being a cynical move … a distraction to take the focus off #marriageequality and relegate the debate to a second-order issue.

9.01am Over-egging the pudding a bit here. Disability a worthy cause, but this is gilding the lily, eating into #marriageequality time. #alpnc

9.02am Listen closely to the ‘equality and dignity’ rhetoric in this motion. Now remember that when #marriageequality comes up. #alpnc

9.12am Looks like the #marriageequality debate will now start at 9.30am. Meanwhile, Labor pulling out all the stops to position themselves as compassionate champions of equality with the NDIS.

Unsurprisingly, the motion passes unanimously.

9.20am After the NDIS motion, Macklin acknowledges traditional owners of the land. Whoops, probably should have happened earlier. #alpnc

9.21am Macklin banging the ‘compassion’ drum again. Really setting themselves up as champions of fairness here. #alpnc

9.24 Macklin: ‘We are a party that hears the voices of the voiceless’. Then stresses this is about the ‘most’ disadvantaged people. #alpnc

There are some deeply cynical political moves here. Labor paints itself as ‘fair’, concerned with ‘equality’ and ‘dignity’ – but makes sure that everyone knows there is a hierarchy of disadvantage. Undoubtedly, those calling for a conscience vote or arguing against same-sex marriage will use this same argument – which, paraphrased, boils down to ‘we’ve done heaps for you, be thankful, others are in greater need’.

Debate on the proposed conscience vote will *precede* Wong and Barr’s motion to amend the party’s policy. Very sneaky move, there.

9.30am @AustralianLabor hastens to reassure me that a Welcome to Country ceremony was held yesterday.

9.31am And now amendments relating to indigenous issues. #alpnc

9.37am Still on indigenous issues. Big slaps aimed at the Victorian government for making acknowledgment of traditional ownership ‘optional’ – but a resounding silence on the Northern Territory intervention.

9.39 am It just gets more cynical. If the Left doesn’t cave in to the Right and support a conscience vote, it will fail. The Right has already said they won’t support a formal change to policy. What are we left with? Status quo?

.46am Here we go … Gillard’s conscience vote up for discussion now. #alpnc

9.47am Gillard to speak first, arguing for a conscience vote on #marriageequality. Yet she’s not actually HERE. #alpnc

Gillard out of the room, so debate is suspended ENTIRELY. Shame. #alpnc #marriageequality

9.49am Oh wait, there she is. Not a good look. #alpnc

Gillard’s speech on #marriageequality starts with a ‘few words’ on jobs, growth and fairness. #alpnc

9.51am And from jobs, the PM moves to education. Which apparently also wants to get married. #alpnc #marriageequality

9.52am Jobs, growth, fairness, health care, disabilities. Aaaand #marriageequality? #alpnc

Gillard stresses that this debate must be had in a climate of respect. #alpnc #marriageequality

Of course, she did this after making sure everyone was reminded of *her* view on the subject.

9.54am Gillard: this is a ‘deeply personal’ debate; she stresses the need for respect for religion. #alpnc #marriageequality

9.55am Gillard now falsely claims that marriage was always a question of conscience. Doesn’t mention 2004. #alpnc #marriageequality

9.56am Gillard: ‘Whatever we determine to do with our platform … we should accord the views of all respect.’ #alpnc #marriageequality

Note that Gillard’s talk of ‘respect’ leaned heavily on the idea that religion should be respected *more*. #alpnc #marriageequality

9.57am Notice that Gillard didn’t actually address the ISSUE at all. Just the need for a conscience vote. #alpnc #marriageequality

9.58am Smith, like Gillard, doesn’t address the issue. And Smith fails to mention the 2004 changes. #alpnc #marriageequality

Smith says a conscience vote should depend on whether there’s a ‘deeply held personal belief’. So, we’ll see one on uranium then?

10am Shorter Gillard/Smith: we should respect discrimination and bigotry. #alpnc #marriageequality

10.01am Andrew Barr now up to speak on a direct platform change. HUGE applause and cheering. #alpnc #marriageequality

10.02am Barr, at least, speaks to the issue. #alpnc #marriageequality.

10.03am Impressed that Barr reminded delegates that this issue affects more than just ‘gay people’. #alpnc #marriageequality

Barr: ‘I can see no good reason for denying marriage to same-sex couples’.

10.0am Barr is choking up. ‘We’re not nameless and faceless people … we’re members of the community like everyone else’. #alpnc #marriageequality

10.06am Barr reminds delegates that this issue is ‘intensely felt’ by those who cannot marry. #alpnc #marriageequality

Standing ovation and cheers for Barr. #alpnc #marriageequality

10.09am Wong: if people were denied marriage on the basis of race, ‘there is not a person in this room that would countenance it!’ #alpnc

Huge applause and cheers. Wong is totally fired up.

10.11am Wong: ‘Do not ask us any longer to accept our relations being treated as less worthy … there is nothing to fear from equality’. #alpnc

10.12am Someone yelling from the audience ‘it’s against natural law’ (Joe de Bruyn?). Cries of ‘Shame!’ from the audience. #alpnc #marriageequality

10.13am Another standing ovation as Wong wraps up. #alpnc #marriageequality.

10.14am Big hug for Penny Wong from Tanya Plibersek. But now Joe de Bruyn is up to support conscience vote. #marriageequality #alpnc

10.15am de Bruyn: this should be decided with our heads, not our emotions. Scornful laughter from the delegates. #alpnc #marriageequality

de Bruyn: Heterosexual marriage has been that way ‘since the dawn of humanity’. More laughter. #alpnc #marriageequality

de Bruyn: Same-sex marriage cannot, of itself, produce children. #alpnc #marriageequality

10.16am de Bruyn, of course, doesn’t mention that infertile heterosexual couples are allowed to marry. #alpnc #marriageequality

10.17am de Bruyn just undermines his ‘marriage is historical’ argument by referencing the 2004 amendments. #alpnc #marriageequality

10.18am de Bruyn: ‘Are we going to turn our back today on something we’ve said is a core value?’ Delegates roar: YES! #alpc #marriageequality

10.19am de Bruyn references the ACL petition, which he falsely claims is ‘over 100,000 signatures’. #alpnc #marriageequality

10.20am de Bruyn trying to claim that the petition for #marriageequality is somehow sleazy, because many signatories didn’t give their electorates.

After his rhetorical call-and-answer fails, de Bruyn moves on to warning that people will lose seats over it.

10.21am de Bruyn lying through his teeth about petitions and community support for #marriageequality. #alpnc

10.25am Faulkner: ‘Human rights can never be at the mercy of individual opinions or individual prejudices’. #alpnc #marriageequality

Faulkner: ‘It is not for governments to *grant* human rights, but to recognise and protect them’. Huge applause. #alpnc #marriageequality

10.28am Faulkner: we don’t have a conscience vote on going to war. Pacifists can’t vote with their consciences. #alpnc #marriageequality

Faulkner: We compelled young men to go to war through conscription – no conscience vote then. #alpnc #marriageequality

10.29am Faulkner: ‘A conscience vote on human rights is not conscionable’. #alpnc #marriageequality

10.30am Standing ovation for Faulkner, too. Now Deborah O’Neill up to speak for a conscience vote. #alpnc #marriageequality

10.31am O’Neill supports a conscience vote. Asks for respect from those who disagree with her. #alpnc #marriageequality

10.33am O’Neill trying to run the difficult line that Labor’s ‘done enough’, and marriage is ‘not a rights issue’. #alpnc #marriageequality

10.36am O’Neill: ‘changing the platform will not remove the terror of homophobia’. #alpnc #marriageequality

10.37am Michelle Lancy up now to support Barr-Wong. ‘There are 2 opposing views here today, love and hate’. #alpnc #marriageequality

Lancy nearly crying: ‘I do this for the children whose beds I’ve sat at when they’ve attempted suicide’. #alpnc #marriageequality

Lancy: ‘I’m bringing my Christianity and my humanity in here today’. #alpnc #marriageequality

Standing ovation for Lancy. Now Mark Arbib. #alpnc #marriageequality

10.41am Mark Arbib wants to support both amendments. Huh?? #alpnc #marriageequality

10.42am Arbib asks how could he tell a potentially gay daughter she can’t get married? #alpnc #marriageequality

10.44am Arbib says the platform must change, but the only way it will work today is via conscience vote. #alpnc #marriageequality

10.44am *None* of the pro-conscience vote speakers admits that the 2004 ‘man & woman’ amendment was NOT a conscience vote. #alpnc #marriageequality

10.45am Anthony Albanese up! #alpnc #marriageequality

10.49am After an Adobe AIR malfunction …

Albo reminds Labor of its history on fighting HIV, passing laws against discrimination; calls on the party to keep it up. #alpnc

10.50am Delegate Polly up, very little applause. Claims she was ‘invited not to turn up’. #alpnc #marriageeqaulity

Polly says she respects Wong – but not enough to let her marry, apparently. #alpnc #marriageequality

10.51am Polly with the ‘some of my best friends are gay’ argument. (facepalm) #alpnc #marriageeqaulity

Polly: ‘Marriage is the heart of our community … it’s our way of life’. Possibly also Mabo and the vibe? #alpnc #marriageeqaulity

10.52am Polly: ‘Marriage is the basis of our social fabric’ – which is funny, given our PM is ‘living in sin’. #alpnc #marriageequality

10.53am Polly would like to point out that only heterosexuals can use the word ‘marriage’. Teh Gayz can have ‘unions’. #alpnc #marriageequality

Polly says we should be allowed to have different views – but only on some issues, it seems. #alpnc #marriagequality

10.54am Now Tanya Plibersek: ‘the time for this great change has come’.

10.56am Plibersek: We can focus on jobs and growth and fairness at the same time. We don’t have to choose. #alpnc #marriageequality

Plibersek: ‘I’m also here representing my straight constituents’. #alpnc #marriageequality

10.57am Plibersek says she’s here for the teenagers who are being told their love is ‘not right’. #alpnc #marriageequality

10.59am Plibersek: It’s not good enough to say to one group of people, ‘you’re almost equal’. #alpnc #marriageequality

Plibersek: ‘Almost equal is not good enough’. I may cry. #alpnc #marriageequality

11.00am No further speakers. Time for the votes. Conscience vote first, and a count is called for. #alpnc #marriageequality

11.04am I wonder if the #alpnc will publish a list of who voted which way on this? #marriageequality

11.07am Albo’s down on the stage watching the count. #alpnc #marriageequality

The tension is palpable – both in the room and on Twitter.

11.09am Call for delegates opposed to the conscience vote to raise their cards. Applause and cheers. #alpnc #marriageequality

So hard to gauge the voting, but looks to be very close. #alpnc #marriageequality

11.13am 208 for the conscience vote, 184 against. Conscience vote is carried. #alpnc #marriageequality

I am apparently over the daily limit for sending tweets. This cannot be happening right now.

11.15am Barr-Wong amendment passes on the voices.

11.20am Well, since Twitter’s cut me off, I’ll wind up the liveblog here. Labor’s in an interesting situation now … marriage equality is now officially included in their party platform, but any vote on the issue must be one of conscience. It’s likely such a vote would fail, given the Coalition’s declaration that they will vote en bloc to oppose such a change to the Marriage Act.

Nonetheless … how long, I wonder, before we see another private members’ bill from the Greens? Or even better, a private members’ bill co-sponsored by Wong, Albanese and Bandt?


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