Thursday, 5 July 2007

ALP reaction to HREOC report

Labor Welcomes Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Report on Same-Sex Entitlements

by Shadow Attorney-General Joe Ludwig:

I congratulate HREOC for their detailed report: "Same-Sex: Same Entitlements" *
This report - produced after 14 months of consultation and work - is an important milestone.
It has shone a spotlight on Federal laws which deny same sex couples in Australia access to basic entitlements like tax concessions, superannuation, death benefits, carer leave, workers' compensation, veterans' entitlements - all of which are available to heterosexual couples under Federal laws.

Same-sex couples get fewer entitlements, less workers' compensation, fewer tax concessions, less health care support, less superannuation and pay more for residential aged care than heterosexual couples in the same circumstances.

Action by the Government is long overdue.
It is disappointing that the Howard Government has not moved already to remove discrimination from Federal law on financial and work related entitlements. The States and Territories have already done so.

The Report found there are many Federal laws which discriminate against same sex couples in areas of financial and work related entitlements. Many of the Federal laws also discriminate against the children of same-sex couples and fail to protect the best interests of the child.

Federal Labor has a long-standing commitment to remove discrimination from Federal legislation.
By contrast the Federal Government has made no commitments in this area.
Indeed, the Howard Government has actively undermined attempts to create nationally consistent non-discriminatory legslation - as evidenced by Mr Ruddock rejecting offers by the States to refer powers to the Commonwealth in the area of de facto relationships, which would allow an easier resolution of property disputes.

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