ACT abandons civil unions
The ACT Government has announced that due to opposition from the Federal government, it has abandoned all attempts to enact legislation to enable civil unions, and will instead amend its legislation to allow for same-sex relationship recognition along the lines of the Tasmanian and Victorian models.
Unlike the States, the ACT must rely on the approval of the Commonwealth, as the ACT is a Territory and the Commonwealth can override any Territory law.
Two previous attempts by the ACT Government were blocked by the Howard Government.
Federal Attorney-General Robert McClelland said:
“The Government notes that the ACT has confirmed the legislation will not provide for ceremonies. Consistent with Federal Labor’s national platform, the Government made clear to the ACT that it would not accept legislation that mimics marriage.”
“We also note that the landmark HREOC report Same-Sex: Same Entitlements found that while there was absolute consensus in the gay and lesbian community that same-sex couples should be recognised equally, there was no consensus that marriage was the most appropriate way to achieve this.”
The Federal Government will review the detail of the ACT legislation when it becomes available, before responding further.