A group of
It took MPs just minutes to support the Greens bill at Labor’s meeting on Tuesday.
It would give the Federal Parliament, rather than the Federal Government, power to override territory laws. But when it emerged it was seen by a group of Labor MPs as giving the green light for the same sex-marriage in the territories.
Some of the MPs have told the ABC they suspect it was a deliberate stitch up by the Labor left and Greens MPs who support gay marriage.
A delegation fronted Prime Minister Julia Gillard with their concerns after a series of meetings.
The bill was to be voted on today, but has now been delayed while a Senate inquiry is held.
Left-wing Labor senator Doug Cameron says members of the party right have overreacted to the Greens bill, saying it doesn’t relate to gay marriage and is just about territory rights.
AAP reports Deputy Prime Minister Wayne Swan said a number of Labor senators have raised “legitimate” concerns about an Australian Greens proposal to give the territories greater autonomy
to make their own laws.
Mr Swan said the prime minister listened to the Labor senators’ views and the government would now seek “further advice”.
“They raised a series of issues about this bill which I think are entirely legitimate,” Mr Swan told ABC Radio on Thursday.
“The prime minister listened to their views and, of course, this is a bill which is going off to a Senate committee.
“We’re going to seek some further advice on the bill and its impact and deal with it in due course.”
Mr Swan denied the senators were worried the government appeared too close to the Greens on social issues.
“Well, I don’t think you can characterise our response to this bill in that way at all,” he said.
“The fact is senators will have concerns about the power of the commonwealth vis-a-vis the territories and other issues associated with that.”
Currently, the NT, ACT and Norfolk Island can have their legislation rejected by a federal minister.
The Greens’ bill would mean legislation from any of the territories could only be disallowed by both houses of federal parliament.
It was referred to a Senate committee for inquiry on Wednesday.