Decision day arrives for same-sex marriage in China

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull addresses the media during a press conference at Parliament House in Canberra on Monday 6 November 2017. fedpol Photo: Alex Ellinghausen Years of divisive public and political debate over same-sex marriage in will come to a head on Wednesday when the results of the Turnbull government’s postal survey are announced by the n Bureau of Statistics.

A diverse group of senators has moved swiftly to ensure legislation – authored by Liberal backbencher Dean Smith – will be debated as soon as Thursday, with the goal of legalising same-sex marriage by Christmas.

Alex Greenwich, the co-chair of the Equality Campaign, welcomed the bill as a “clear pathway” forward that could command the support of the Parliament. It was co-signed by Labor frontbencher Penny Wong, Liberal senators Linda Reynolds and Jane Hume, Greens senators Richard Di Natale and Janet Rice, and crossbenchers Derryn Hinch and Skye Kakoschke-Moore

“Just as our campaign has brought ns together, senators are coming together to do something good and make people happy,” Mr Greenwich said.

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull flew in to overnight following a five-day series of leader meetings in south-east Asia. He is expected to address the public shortly after ABS head David Kalisch reveals the result during a media conference broadcast by all major television networks. Confident of victory, the ‘yes’ campaign has organised a series of major public gatherings in each capital cities, while the ‘no’ campaign will digest the results at the Intercontinental Hotel in Sydney.

A fierce parliamentary debate over religious exemptions is expected to follow the announcement. On Tuesday, Mr Turnbull slapped down his conservative colleagues by declaring ns would not accept any watering down of existing anti-discrimination laws.

Mr Turnbull was responding to demands from some Liberals, led by Victorian senator James Paterson, that business owners should be able to refuse service for gay weddings based on religious or “conscientious” beliefs. That would involve overriding existing discrimination laws and creating special dispensation for people who held the “relevant belief” that homosexual relationships are unholy or immoral.

In remarks praised by his moderate Liberal allies as “strong”, Mr Turnbull argued ns would not support such moves – and neither would the Parliament.

“I don’t believe ns would welcome – and certainly the government would not countenance – making legal discrimination that is illegal, that is unlawful today,” Mr Turnbull said.

Ideas of the kind Senator Paterson proposed “would have virtually no prospect of getting through the Parliament”, Mr Turnbull added.

The Smith bill, or the rival legislation proposed by Senator Paterson, would be subject to a series of conscience votes on both sides, requiring a majority from the collective pool of Coalition, Labor and Greens MPs.

“People will be free to move whatever amendments they want and they will be debated and voted on,” Mr Turnbull said. “They won’t be … constrained by any party policy.”

A spokeswoman for the Coalition for Marriage said the Prime Minister’s remarks were “surprising, given that he recently said that he believed more strongly in religious freedom than in same-sex marriage”

But Mr Turnbull was backed by senior ministers including the country’s chief law officer, Attorney-General George Brandis, who rubbished the conservatives’ proposals as “discrimination”.

“We are certainly not going to remove one form of discrimination and at the same time instate another form of discrimination,” Senator Brandis said.

“If you’re a gay man or gay woman and you go into a florist and say, ‘I’d like to buy a bunch of flowers’, it’s just wrong and illegal for the florist to say, ‘I don’t serve gay people’ – just as it would be wrong or illegal for the florist to say to an Indigenous person, ‘I don’t serve Indigenous people’.

“If it’s legally and morally wrong to discriminate against one gay person, I don’t know how it becomes right to discriminate against two.”

Government ministers instead backed the Smith bill, which legalises same-sex marriage while providing a moderate level of exemptions for religious organisations, and is backed by Labor, the Greens and others.

Senator Smith on Tuesday gave notice he would introduce the bill to the Senate on Thursday, presuming the “yes” vote succeeds.

MPs from all parties will be able to propose amendments to that bill, but crucially, there will be no cabinet or party room position dictating how people vote. All amendments would be subject to a free vote of Coalition, Labor and crossbench MPs.

Apartment Living: New complex set for release in Wickham

NEW OFFERING: An artist’s impression of the latest Wickham development, featuring 114 apartments which is set to be released to the market.

Apartments in Wickam’s latest residentialdevelopmentEatonwill go on sale this weekend.

Walkom Real Estate is marketing the 114-apartment complex and director Scott Walkom expected strong interest to come for a mix of one, two and three-bedroom residences over 12 levels.

The Thirdi Group development at 7 Union Streetwill officially be launched on November 22.

Thirdi Group also developed the popular West End apartment complex adjacent to the new Wickham interchange and currently under construction.

Potential buyers have been able to register interest for Eaton for the past few weeks and it is expected to appeal to investors and first home buyers with prices starting for a one-bedroom apartment at $395,000 and ranging up to $953,000 for three-bedroom, two-bathroom homes.

“There has been a lot of interest and we expect it will be quite popular just because it’s Wickham,” Mr Walkom said.

“It’s affordablypriced and is in a good location which is benefiting from the urban renewal of the city.”

UNIQUE: This two-bedroom apartment is in the boutique Life On Throsby complex and is being marketed with a price guide of $645,000 to $695,000.

It is not the only offering in the harbourside suburb at the moment. Raine and Horne’s Jason Maxwell is marketing a two-bedroom apartment on the seventh floor of the Millhorn development at 5-11 Wickham Street.

The apartment offers harbour views and is being sold with a guide of $720,000. The Millhorn development is scheduled for completion in June next year.

Mr Maxwell is also marketing a two-bedroom, two-bathroom residence in the boutique Life On Throsby complex at 18 Throsby Street.

Apartment 115 is on level one of two and is being sold with a price guide of $645,000 to $695,000.

“It is a really nice complex with only 49 apartments in the whole complex,” Mr Maxwell said.

“In the three years since its completion there has only been one sale, so it is very tightly held.

“Thereally nice thing about this apartment is it has a generous balcony which faces south and an internal courtyardwhich faces north.”

It is located just 200 metres to Newcastle’s Cruising Yacht Club, The Wickham Boatshed and Marina.

The first open house is at11am today.

SUBURB PROFILE: Buying in Merewether

A suburb offering a beachside lifestyle LIFE’S A BEACH: It is hard to beat the views on offer along the Merewether to Bar Beach stretch, making it a popular place to live and visit.

PROGRESS: A lot has changed since Merewether was a mining village but everyone still loves the beach. Picture from the collections of the State Library of NSW.

HISTORIC: Hillcrest is the suburb’s oldest mansion and one of the most historically significant buildings in Merewether.

TweetFacebookSUBURB SNAPSHOTIf any suburb characterises the seachange, and the transformation of Newcastle, it must be Merewether.

Originally a working class, beachside mining community, Merewether is now arguably the most sought-after suburb in the region.

It is located approximately three kilometres from Newcastle’s CBD and is bordered by pristine beaches, Bar Beach, The Junction, Adamstown and Merewether Heights.

Related:Merewether house built in late 1880s has been in the Gow family for four generations

LIFESTYLEIn 1985 Dr James Mitchell applied to purchase around 900 acres of land south of Newcastle, which became known as Burwood Estate.

These days the beachside suburbhas a population of nearly 11,000 people and the median house price is just shy of $1 million at $990,000.

Highly regarded schools, proximity to The Junction Shopping Village, cafes, restaurants and bars makes this laid-back suburb popular with a range of people.

Related:Merewether Surfhouse listed for sale

ASK THE EXPERTMerewether includes some of Newcastle’s most famous beaches, includingDixon Park beach, Merewether beach and the more isolated Burwood beach, which leads to Glenrock Lagoon.

It also features the iconic Merewether Ocean Baths, the largest ocean baths in the Southern Hemisphere, Merewether Surf Life Saving Club,the Hunter’s oldest lifesaving club, and the Merewether Surfboard Club, the most successful board riders club in .

The suburbis also home to four-time world champion Mark Richards, one of several world-class surfers to have honed their skills at the Merewether break.

Merewether,once serviced by tramways to the city and today by buses, has excellent road connections to all sections of Newcastle.

Its oldest mansion is Hillcrest, originally home to the Merewether family.

– Presented by Mike Flook, Robinson Property

What’s Selling: Hamilton South going strong and plenty of sales in Edgeworth

ANOTHER BIG SALE: This Hamilton South residence in Gordon Avenue sold for $1.665 million prior to auction. It comes after a property across the road sold for a street record $1.8 million.Edgeworth continues to provide good value for first home buyers while big sales are still being recorded in inner city suburbs like Hamilton South.

PRDnationwide’s Mark Kentwell sold circa 1924 residence ‘Glenroy’, a four-bedroom home on 682.9 square metresat113 Gordon Avenue, Hamilton South for $1.665 million on November 10 prior to auction.

It came a fortnight after First National’s George Rafty set a new street record for Gordon Avenue with his sale of No.118 for $1.8 million.

First National’s Andrew McGrath sold a three-bedroom residence on 872 square metres at 57 Harper Avenue, Edgeworth for $478,000 on November 16 and on the same day Noel McFarlane Real Estate’s Wade McCullum sold a two-bedroom home on 658 square metres at 22 Fletcher Street, Edgeworth for $427,500.

The sales came after First National also sold 21 Irving Street, Edgeworthfor $315,000 and Noel McFarlane sold7 Lindley Street,Edgeworthfor $421,000.

Sean Redpath from McGrath Estate Agents sold 21 Diuris Street, Fern Bay, a near-new four-bedroom home on 510 square metres for $620,000.

Two new three-bedroom, two-bathroom townhouses at 9 Regent Street, New Lambtonwere both sold by Ray White’s Teresa Heighington for $769,000.

Premier Estate Agents sold 26 Coniston Close, Rankin Park for $640,000 andMarshalls Property sold 3AElandale Place, Redhead for $905,000.

Street Property Group sold a two-bedroom terrace on Darby Street, Cooks Hill for $785,000 prior to auction.

Ray White sold afour-bedroom home on 925.5 square metres at 18 Floralia Close,New Lambtonfor $1.01 million.

Walkom Real Estate sold 13 Booth Street, Stockton, a cavity brick two-bedroom home on 556 square metres, for $1 million.

Dalton Partners’ Scott Purnell sold a three-bedroom home at 444 Brunker Road, Adamstown Heights for $780,000.

First National sold a three-bedroom home at 1 Dwyer Street, Maitlandon 676 square metres, for $380,000.

Newcastle Rugby League: Cessnock Goannas captain-coach Al Lantry backs controversial signing Paul Carter to focus in 2018

SIGNING: Cessnock Goannas recruit Paul Carter in action for the Sydney Roosters in March. He will play Newcastle Rugby League in 2018 after being sentenced in court next month for cocaine supply. Picture: AAPPaul Carter has been sacked by three NRL clubs and faces sentencing in court for supplying cocainenext month, but incoming Cessnockcaptain-coach Al Lantry said he wasn’tconcerned about the controversial off-field baggage of his new recruit.

The Goannas announced the 2018 signing of 25-year-old Carter on Tuesdayand Lantry said the versatile utility, who played three games for the Sydney Roostersthis season, was focused on returning to footballvia theNewcastle Rugby League.

“No, not really [concerned],” Lantry said.

“I’ve spoken to him and he’s all focused on the right areas. And I’m notfocused on anything off field either.

“He’s just lookingto get back and keep everything on the field and play good footy forthe Goeys.”

Lantry said another crack at the NRLwouldn’t be out of the question for Carter, the son of former Penrith playmaker Steve,followingstints at the Gold Coast, South Sydneyand Roosters from2014.

“He hasn’t mentioned anything to me about it, but surely it [NRL] would stillbe on his mind,” Lantry said.

“He still can play there, he’s 25. But allhe wants to talk about is Cessnock.”

Lantry said Carterwas due to join the Goannas after Christmas and would look to relocate to Newcastle.

His former Roosters teammates Shaun Kenny-Dowall, Connor Watson and Aidan Guerra will all play together at the Knights next season.

Lantry was quite pleased to secure Carter’s servicesespecially considering there was no prior connection with the club, which has missedsemi-finals the last two campaigns.

“It’s prettyexciting to get him,” Lantry said.

“Just his presenceon the field from the get-go will be outstanding. Hisknowledge of the game. The people he’s played with and against. He’spicked the brain of so many people. Hiscontrol on the field will be good forus too.”

In recent weeks social media had been thelink between Cessnock and Carter.

“It all come about on social media,” Lantry said.

“A bloke helping me out with a bit of player recruitment started talking to Paul on social media.

“I ended up getting his number and we spoke over a few days. Then wegot it [the contract] put together pretty quick.”

The Goannas have lost forward Marvin Filipo and halfback Jordan Worboys for 2018, but collected Macquarie winger Royce Geoffrey. They have re-signed last year’s skipper Kori Barber, Reed Hugo and Joe Woodbury.

Lantry expected to announce three more recruits by the end of this week, but wouldn’t reveal what position he expected to play Carter, who has slotted in at lock, second-row and hooker.

“We’ve spoken about a few positions, but wedon’t want to give away too much early,” Lantry said.

“There’stwo spots up for grabs he wants to play.”

Carter is due to appear in court on November 29

Elsewhere and Cessnock’s Coalfields’ rivals Kurri Kurri have picked up Maitland rugby union back Jono Maloney as well as playmaker Jade Porter from Wests.


The Cessnock Goannas have announced the signing of controversial former NRL player Paul Carter for the 2018 Newcastle Rugby League season.

Carter, 25, was sacked by the Sydney Roosters this season and pleaded guilty to supplying cocaine at a Sydney nightclub to teammate Shaun Kenny-Dowall, who later joined the Newcastle Knights.

Carter was accused of supplying a small quantity of the drug toKenny-Dowall at the Ivy nightclub in the early hours of May 5.

He previously pleaded not guilty to one charge of supplying a prohibited drug, but changed his plea to guilty.The matter wasadjourned last month for sentence on November 29.

Kenny-Dowall was spared a conviction after he pleaded guilty to possessing .29 of a gram of cocaine at the nightclub.

Carter, the son of former Penrith playmaker Steve Carter, had previously been sacked by NRL clubs Gold Coast and South Sydney for disciplinary reasons and breach of the club’s code of conduct respectively. He has playedlock, second-row andhooker.

Al Lantry has returned to Cessnock and will coach them in 2018 after the club parted ways with Steve Kidd.