NA­TION Same sex mar­riage call splits Ab­botts

Townsville Bulletin - - NATION - CLAIRE BICKERS

A HIGH Court chal­lenge could de­lay the Turn­bull Gov­ern­ment’s plans to hold a na­tional bal­lot on same- sex mar­riage.

La­bor, the Greens and Nick Xenophon Team sen­a­tors yes­ter­day blocked the Gov­ern­ment’s sec­ond at­tempt at pass­ing laws to en­able a $ 170 mil­lion com­pul­sory plebiscite.

Fi­nance Min­is­ter Mathias Cor­mann shortly af­ter­wards said the backup plan — a $ 122 mil­lion vol­un­tary postal bal­lot run by the Aus­tralian Bureau of Statis­tics — would go ahead.

Bal­lot pa­pers are due to hit mail­boxes from Septem­ber 12.

But in­de­pen­dent MP An- drew Wilkie and mar­riage equal­ity ad­vo­cates Shel­ley Ar­gent and Felic­ity Marlowe have ini­ti­ated High Court ac­tion to head off the bal­lot.

They have been ad­vised there are con­sti­tu­tional prob­lems with the ABS run­ning the poll and the Gov­ern­ment pay­ing for it with­out par­lia­ment’s ap­proval. Se­na­tor Cor­mann said the Gov­ern­ment’s ad­vice was there were no con­sti­tu­tional or le­gal prob­lems.

Yes­ter­day Tony Ab­bott’s sis­ter Chris­tine Forster hit back at her brother’s call for Aus­tralians to vote ‘ No’ in the same sex mar­riage bal­lot.

The for­mer prime min­is­ter fired the first shot yes­ter­day morn­ing in what will be a SHE’S the lit­tle bear leav­ing a big im­pres­sion at Sea World.

The only po­lar bear cub in the coun­try, the baby girl has al­ready cap­tured the hearts of Sea World staffers as well as the broader com­mu­nity.

Fol­low­ing a pub­lic com­pe­ti­tion she has been named Mishka.

“Mishka is a great name for the adorable lit­tle cub as it has her­itage in both the Rus­sian and Inuit cul­tures, which ties in nicely to her par­ents Liya and Hud­son,” Po­lar Bear Shores su­per­vi­sor Tacha Mul­li­gan said.

At 3 ½ months old and the size of a stafford­shire ter­rier, she is cer­tainly a lit­tle bear for now, but will grow to be a gi­ant like her mum and is likely to be­come a key fig­ure in fu­ture cap­tive breed­ing pro­grams for the threat­ened species.

For now, Mishka is grow­ing in­creas­ingly con­fi­dent in the Gold Coast park’s win­ter wonderland.

She is ex­pected to go on pub­lic dis­play in the com­ing weeks.

Ms Mul­li­gan said the team had been over­whelmed by the re­sponse to the nam­ing com­pe­ti­tion.

“The cub is be­com­ing quite the in­quis­i­tive lit­tle bear and the name Mishka re­ally suits her per­son­al­ity,” she said. STU­DENT pro­test­ers an­gry about univer­sity fee hikes have at­tempted to hi­jack Ques­tion Time at Par­lia­ment House. Se­cu­rity guards im­me­di­ately de­scended on the four pro­test­ers yes­ter­day when they be­gan yelling “No cuts, no fees, no cor­po­rate uni­ver­si­ties” in the Se­nate Ques­tion Time. One fe­male pro­tester was forcibly re­moved from the cham­ber by three se­cu­rity guards when she re­fused to leave. It’s the third time pro­test­ers have in­ter­rupted Ques­tion Time since Novem­ber, when a group hi­jacked the ses­sion for 40 min­utes by su­per­glu­ing their hands to rails in the Lower House pub­lic gallery and shout­ing slo­gans about clos­ing Aus­tralia’s off­shore de­ten­tion cen­tres. Chris­tine Forster and Tony Ab­bott fierce pub­lic bat­tle over com­ing weeks. “Ob­vi­ously I will be vot­ing no, but in the end this is not about the politi­cians, this is about the peo­ple, it’s about your view,” Mr Ab­bott said out­side Par­lia­ment yes­ter­day.

“And I say to you if you don’t like same- sex mar­riage, vote ‘ No’,” he said. “If you’re wor­ried about re­li­gious free- dom and free­dom of speech, vote ‘ No’, and if you don’t like po­lit­i­cal cor­rect­ness, vote ‘ No’ be­cause vot­ing ‘ No’ will help to stop po­lit­i­cal cor­rect­ness.”

Ms Forster re­sponded, urg­ing Aus­tralians to vote ‘ Yes’.

“If you value mu­tual re­spect: vote yes. If you want all Aus­tralians to be equal: vote yes. If you be­lieve in free speech: vote yes,” she tweeted.

Ms Forster, who has been en­gaged to her part­ner Vir­ginia Ed­wards since 2013, also said: “If you want the per­son you love to be in ev­ery sense a part of your fam­ily: vote yes.”

Ear­lier La­bor front­bencher Penny Wong said the par­lia­ment should de­bate and pass changes to mar­riage laws now, PAULINE Han­son has re­ferred her own One Na­tion col­league Mal­colm Roberts to the High Court over his cit­i­zen­ship and el­i­gi­bil­ity for par­lia­ment. The One Na­tion leader moved a mo­tion in Par­lia­ment yes­ter­day af­ter mount­ing pres­sure from the Greens and Se­nate cross­bench. Se­na­tor Han­son said Se­na­tor Roberts ( pic­tured) had her “full sup­port” but she be­lieved that it was in the pub­lic’s in­ter­est for the case to go be­fore the Court of Dis­puted Re­turns. Se­na­tor Roberts’ el­i­gi­bil­ity is in doubt be­cause it is un­clear whether he still had Bri­tish cit­i­zen­ship at the time of the 2016 fed­eral elec­tion. rather than wait for the re­sults of an “ex­pen­sive stunt”. Se­na­tor Wong, who is in a same- sex re­la­tion­ship, said many in the Coali­tion could not coun­te­nance equal­ity.

Se­na­tor Wong ob­jected to the Aus­tralian Chris­tian Lobby de­scrib­ing the chil­dren of same- sex cou­ples as the “stolen gen­er­a­tion” and re­jected Se­na­tor Cor­mann’s state­ment the plebiscite could be a “uni­fy­ing” de­ci­sion for the coun­try.

“You talk about uni­fy­ing mo­ments? It is not a uni­fy­ing mo­ment. It is ex­pos­ing our chil­dren to that kind of ha­tred.” Se­na­tor Cor­mann said it was im­por­tant for the de­bate to be con­ducted with “cour­tesy and re­spect”. KING of the Cross John Ibrahim was nowhere to be seen when his girl­friend, son and cousin ap­peared at a Sydney court charged re­spec­tively with pos­sess­ing a Glock pis­tol and be­ing linked to a mul­ti­mil­lion­dol­lar in­ter­na­tional drugsmug­gling crime syn­di­cate.

John’s youngest brother, Michael Ibrahim, who was ar­rested in Dubai with an­other brother, Fadi, is the al­leged mas­ter­mind be­hind the syn­di­cate which was the sub­ject of mul­ti­ple raids across Sydney on Tues­day.

De­tails of the fam­ily’s al­leged to­bacco- smug­gling deal­ings were out­lined at Cen­tral Lo­cal Court yes­ter­day.

A man ac­cused of han­dling $ 1.45 mil­lion on be­half of Michael and Fadi Ibrahim was “pun­ished” when he al­legedly kept $ 30,000 for him­self, the court heard. Jaron Ch­ester, 34, “had his head forcibly shaved and he had his eye­brows plucked ... and taken as tro­phies,” his lawyer Charles Water­street said.

Mr Water­street said Ch­ester, who was eye­brow­less when he ap­peared via au­dio- vis­ual link, was “an un­for­tu­nate vic­tim, not a mover or shaker”.

John Ibrahim’s son, Daniel Taylor, is an­other rel­a­tively mi­nor player in the op­er­a­tion, the court heard.

Taylor, 26, has been charged with deal­ing with money in­tended as an in­stru­ment of crime for his al­leged in­volve­ment in trans­fer­ring a bag with $ 2.25 mil­lion cash to buy smug­gled to­bacco.

John Ibrahim’s model girl­friend, Sarah Budge, 27, is not in­volved in the drug- smug­gling syn­di­cate but faced the same court on firearms and am­mu­ni­tion charges.

Court doc­u­ments sug­gest she was in pos­ses­sion of a Glock 26 pis­tol that had its iden­ti­fy­ing se­rial num­bers re­moved when she was ar­rested at Dou­ble Bay on Tues­day.

Michael Ibrahim and his cousin, Fares Der­bas, 30, are al­leged to have avoided pay­ing $ 11 mil­lion in duty and taxes by dis­tribut­ing smug­gled cig­a­rettes across Sydney.

Der­bas and Ch­ester were re­fused bail, while Taylor and Budge were granted strict con­di­tional bail. Two other men, Mo­ham­mad Jeda and Has­san Fakhrid­dine, who faced court on com­mer­cial drug charges, were also re­fused bail.

CU­RI­OUS CUB: Mishka, the three- and- a- half month old po­lar bear cub, with her mother Liya at Sea World on the Gold Coast. Pic­ture: AAP

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