Federal Government not acting on same-sex relationship law reform

I havn’t written many posts recently as I’ve been very busy with work and other activities, but I thought I’d write a quick one.According to this story in the Sydney Morning Herald:

Justice Kirby has appealed to the Government to alter the law so that his partner, Johan von Vloten, would receive a spouse pension if he outlived the judge, 68, who retires in two years.

Justice Kirby is understood to have written to the Attorney-General, Philip Ruddock, seeking a change in the law so that Mr Vloten, his partner of 38 years, could receive a part-pension of about $140,000 a year.

But a spokeswoman for Mr Ruddock said last night the Government would not support amending the Judges’ Pensions Amendment Bill to extend pension rights to same-sex partners.

The Government would not be dealing with one aspect of the same-sex entitlements in isolation from other areas affected by the same-sex issue, the spokeswoman said.

Did the spokeswoman give a defensible reason for this? I don’t see why the Federal Government couldn’t deal with one aspect separately from the rest, if it goes part of the way to removing discrimination against same-sex couples.

Why couldn’t it? 

Further on in the same story:

The Government’s failure to act on same-sex entitlements has also angered a longtime campaigner for change, the federal Liberal MP Warren Entsch, who says the financial implications of change should not intrude into issues of discrimination. Mr Entsch said he had been promised the issue would be dealt with by senior people in Government.

“For 2½ they have been looking at it and looking at it. I feel I have been cheated,” he said.

How genuine is the federal government on this?

Update: a story essentially responding to the above one is here. Quote:

A plan to give same-sex couples equal financial entitlements to heterosexual partners will be taken to cabinet before the federal election, gay rights advocates say.

Attorney-General Philip Ruddock on Friday met the lobbyists to discuss a Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission (HREOC) report that found more than 20,000 gay Australian couples face systematic discrimination on a daily basis.

Mr Ruddock promised to take his response to cabinet before the federal election, said Rodney Croome from the Australian Coalition for Equality.

Just an observation – there are probably very few Parliamentary sitting days before the federal election. On past experience, I wouldn’t be surprised if the relevant bills don’t pass before the election although it would be nice if they did.

One Response to Federal Government not acting on same-sex relationship law reform

  1. Sam says:

    Not genuine at all Sacha. Entsch, Peter Lindsay, Petro Georgiou and several other Libs have been making representations to Howard and Ruddock on this issue for years – and all have failed to elicit any serious action apart from a few piecemeal interdependency reforms in super, migration and ADF.

    Complete contradiction here too: They’ve claimed in the past they would only reform discriminatory laws on a ‘case-by-case’ basis – and now there is a prime single case here, they will ‘not be dealing with one aspect of the entitlements in isolation from other areas affected by the same-sex issue’? It’d be funny if it weren’t so damn frustrating!

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