Rudd to remove same sex discrimination (except marriage)

Rudd to remove same sex discrimination (except marriage)

The Rudd Government announced yesterday that it would introduce bills into Parliament by June so that 100 pieces of legislation would be amended to remove discrimination against same sex couples.

This will matters such as public servants’ pensions, defence force entitlements, Medicare, Centrelink and tax matters.

Federal Attorney-General Robert McClelland said that some changes would take place immediately, but others would not occur until mid next year, to allow people (and the Government) time to adjust their arrangements, as there would be winners and losers. He was quite clear to identify that whilst gay and lesbian couples are now not treated as a couple for Centrelink benefits, they will be after the changes come into force.

There has been criticism of the Government for its refusal to allow amendments to the Marriage Act to allow same sex marriages, and the Government is still refusing to allow the ACT to permit civil unions as they “mimic” marriages, although there is to be a meeting between the Governments about the ACT proposal tomorrow.

Whilst the peak lawyers body, the Law Council of Australia approved the changes, it called for the changes to the Marriage Act to be made: “As long as the Government remains intent on preserving a special class of state-sanctioned relationship which is closed to same-sex couples, discrimination will persist,” President Ross Ray QC said.

“And it will persist regardless of whether or not any Government entitlements are exclusively available to couples within that limited class.”

He said the Law Council would continue to advocate for reform in this area.

“In the end, it’s simple – all people are equal before the law and should be entitled to the same fundamental rights.”

Things to Read, Watch & Listen

Forced Marriage

On November 1st 2023, Accredited Family Law Specialist and Page Provan Director Stephen Page presented a paper at the Brisbane Zonta Club about forced marriage. I acknowledge the Jagera and Turrbal peoples, on whose lands we meet today, their elders, past, present and emerging. Ruqia Hidari was aged 21 and living in Victoria, when, according to police,… Read More »Forced Marriage

ACT Government Surrogacy Bill

The ACT Government has today introduced a bill to amend the ACT’s surrogacy laws. The proposed changes are more incremental than fundamental. They include allowing a single person to undertake surrogacy, for the surrogate to be single if needed, a requirement for legal advice and counselling beforehand, a written agreement being required, that traditional surrogacy is… Read More »ACT Government Surrogacy Bill

Planning to resolve: ADR in ART

ADR can help resolve disputes in ART cases. ADR is not limited to mediation and arbitration. Other types of informal dispute resolution can resolve disputes. When assisted reproductive treatment cases go off the rails, they can have the next level of bitterness and volatility. There can be a keen sense of betrayal when things don’t… Read More »Planning to resolve: ADR in ART

Family Law Section Law Council of Australia Award
Member of Queensland law society
Family law Practitioners Association
International Academy of Family Lawyers - IAFL
Mediator Standards Board