Same-Sex Marriage Now Legal

The House of Representatives passed the same-sex marriage bill yesterday. It passed without further amendment. Only four politicians voted against the bill passing. Couples will be able to get married as soon as January next year. Couples already married overseas will have their marriage immediately recognised.

At the moment the bill passed, the chamber erupted into applause, tears and hugs, and then…song. Watch the video below. It’ll make your Friday.

Australian Citizenship

The ongoing headache behind the citizenship saga reached one of its particularly muddy points this week, as Labor and the LNP went head-to-head in attempting to out-manoeuvre and out-humiliate their opponent. The eventual result is that two Labor MPs, Katy Gallagher and David Feeney, are bound for the high court. A handful of other Labor MPs are in doubt, but a vote to get them to the high court failed as the LNP didn’t have the support of the Greens or the Nick Xenophon Party.

Meanwhile, Barnaby Joyce is now back in Parliament, after comfortably winning the seat of New England. He is most definitely now Australian, and not at all a Kiwi.

All MPs have been asked to produce proof of their Australian citizenship. This has caused disturbance for some indigenous MPs. In many cases, they don’t have the required papers demonstrating where their parents were born, as the Australian Government never registered their births to begin with. Linda Burney, a Wiradjuri woman, was not legally recognised as an Australian citizen until she was ten years old.

Banning Foreign Influence

Apart from debating citizenship and passing the same sex marriage bill in Parliament this week, the government also managed to introduce a ban on foreign influence. The bill is designed to limit foreign donations to political parties. It comes in the shadow of the ongoing Russian investigation into the United States election, as well as Senator Sam Dastayari’s scandalous rendezvous with the Chinese media, along with broad concern of China’s influence on Aussie politics.

Experts are warning that the broad nature of the bill is imprecise and could raise a lot of issues. It’ll be examined and debated into the new year.

QLD Election Update

The count continues with some surprising results. It’s been confirmed: The Greens and One Nation will have one seat each, and Labor will have a governing majority. As explained in the immediate aftermath of the election, the results swayed far more towards Labor and the Greens than expected.

Manus Update

The Parliament was temporarily thrown into panic this week when Labor spotted an opportunity to carry a vote to the floor. The vote was to accept the New Zealand offer to take in the Manus Island refugees. There weren’t enough LNP politicians on the floor at the time to oppose the vote, so it passed – but only for a few minutes. The vote was repealed once Turnbull had everyone back together.

The situation on Manus has reached stalemate, with all the refugees now moved out of the detention centre into alternative accomodation.

The spotlight this week also shifted to Nauru refugees. Immigration Minister Peter Dutton has defended the unofficial policy practices that favour refugees re-settling in the United States if they’ve cut all ties with their family, including parents relinquishing rights to see their children. This is all part of the government’s aggressive stance on discouraging people smuggling, but several groups, including UNICEF and the Amnesty International, say it’s not worth the cost.

Jerusalem

This week, Trump broke with decades of US foreign policy and declared Jerusalem, not Tel Aviv, as the capital of Israel. This is an incredibly delicate decision, as Jerusalem is at the heart of contested territory in the Middle East. Trump is facing international condemnation for the decision, and violent protests have broken out throughout the region. We’ll be doing our last deep dive of the year on this contentious issue next Tuesday.

Yemen Update

We did a deep dive into this complex issue on Tuesday. It’s a story that takes several surprising turns, including political assassination, leaders switching sides, and, surprisingly the United States indirectly allying itself with Al-Qaeda.

In the wake of the assassination of former President Ali Abdullah Saleh this week, the Iran-backed Houthis exerted control over the capital. Saudi Arabia is continuing airstrikes over the region. Thousands of citizens remain in danger.

Hemophilia break-through

Hemophilia, a disease where blood has difficulty clotting and can severely hinder the lives of those born with it, may be close to a cure. Using gene therapy, a virus is injected into the patient to supply DNA instructions to liver cells, which then encourages clotting. The treatment has been successfully trialled on a handful of patients over a year.

Ashes

If you care about such things you already know – but the Australian men’s team won the second Ashes match this week. Over twenty men ran about in the sun for just over five days seeing if they could hit, throw and catch a small pink ball. It was pretty great.

We’ll be back for the final week of Slow News Weekly 2017 with a deep dive into Israel on Tuesday.

Photo at the top by Matt Roberts courtesy of ABC News.

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