Speaking to the ABC’s Lateline last night, Gallagher recounted her conversation with federal Attorney-General George Brandis on Wednesday, when he informed her the government intended to challenge the bill in the High Court should it pass.
“He gave me a courtesy call to say that he had received advice; he asked me not to commence the laws once they’d passed, and we politely refused, and said we would be commencing them and that we’d see him in court,” Gallagher told Lateline host Tony Jones.
Gallagher expressed confidence that the bill would withstand a legal challenge from the Commonwealth, claiming: “We will get this bill through, and we will get it through in October”.
“We think that these laws can operate concurrently with the federal Marriage Act – that’s our very clear advice…We have drafted our laws very carefully to allow them to run concurrently,” Gallagher said.
“It’s a matter of principle for us, and it’s an election commitment we made to the people of the ACT…The path’s been chosen, and we have to pursue it and we will defend it.”
Gallagher also criticised the government for interfering in the governance of the territory.
“The Commonwealth is going to seek to overturn a law that’s been passed by a democratically elected Parliament with the overwhelming support of the community on an issue that we have campaigned long for.”
Yesterday ACT Attorney-General Simon Corbell revealed to reporters that the federal government intended to challenge the bill.