Tickets to history

Steve Kendall | Bendigo Weekly | 15-Dec-2017

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LAST Friday afternoon at 6pm I was on the quad bike checking our growing lambs when I had cause to reflect on the previous day.


At about 6pm on Thursday I had been in the public gallery at Parliament House, what a difference a day makes.


Yes, that was the day the same-sex marriage bill passed.


The reason I was in Canberra was all Annabel Crabb’s fault.


Ms Crabb is an ABC journo, and presented a TV show this year called The House, it was all about the ups and downs of parliament and in the final episode she tracked the final sitting week.


It looked like great fun, all the rushing about and the like.


So I booked my accommodation sometime in October.


I really drew the top lottery ticket with timing, as I got to see a week of weeks in Canberra.


Question time is always a must-see if in the capital, but come Wednesday the hot topic was the same-sex marriage bill.


By the time Thursday dawned I had set myself up for a full day.


To set the record straight, I think the whole fuss about SSM was ridiculous, there was no need for a survey, the government could have sorted it out themselves, but given the path it took I was interested to see the process through.


I was in my seat by 10am and we were somewhere within the early amendments.


Six amendments had been put up, all from the Coalition, to change the bill which had been passed by the Senate.


It was pretty clear early on no amendment would pass that day, and they seemed to me nothing but delaying tactics in the name of religious freedom, but still they trotted them out.


The tension in the gallery was at boiling point, and those who would gain from the bill were understandably edgy.


As each amendment was defeated the gallery applauded, and was often told to be quiet by the Speaker of the House.


I don’t think they would have been brave enough to eject the gallery, but technically they could have.


Anthony Albanese, Bill Shorten and Penny Wong came up to the gallery to calm things down and then the final amendment was voted down, and it was time for the third reading of the bill and then the vote.


A division was needed, and the yes voters went to one side and the no voters to the other.


With only four no voters present, the bill was passed and the house erupted.


It was special to see this event unfold, and be a small part of it, but come Friday I was happy to be back on my quad bike in a paddock in Victoria, away from all of the fuss.

– Steve Kendall
twitter: stevekendall1


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