Senator Dean Smith

Annually Eikon looks back at the year to find out who made the biggest impact on our readers.

We call it Eikon’s 12 Gays of Christmas, where we find 12 newsmakers that have played a big part in our world across 2017.

Today, we highlight an unlikely hero stemming from the recent Australian parliament’s move to pass same-sex marriage.

Dean Smith, a backbencher from Western Australia, became the face of the Government’s same-sex marriage push when he became involved with the Senate’s committee a year ago and then worked behind the scenes to get legislation ready for the parliament, that would, in the end, bring about a change in the law.

Dean Smith at Parliament with the same-sex marriage bill

Smith, along with a long list of cross-party co-sponsors of the bill, Senators Reynolds, Wong, Pratt, Di Natale, Rice, Kakoschke-Moore, Hinch and Hume together with Warren Entsch, Tim Wilson, Trent Zimmerman and Trevor Evans all from his own party, pushed things along all year until the postal survey was held, a result known and a successful parliament vote counted.

In his final speech to The Senate, Smith said “I never believed the day would come … when my relationship would be judged by my country to be as meaningful and valued as any other,” Smith said.

“The Australian people have proven me wrong.”

“Don’t underestimate our country’s sense of fairness, its sense of decency — and its willingness to be a country ‘for all of us’,” he told parliament.

“Not only does our country live these values, it votes for them as well.”