Tuesday, 17 July 2007

Government rejects Kirby's request for equality

Within the next year or so, two of the country's most distinguished jurists, Justices Ian Callinan (left) and Michael Kirby (right)are due to retire from the High Court. Justice Callinan is married. Justice Kirby is gay, having been in the same relationship for 38 years.

If Justice Callinan dies, his widow receives a pension for the rest of her life. If Justice Kirby dies before his partner, then his partner will not be entitled- because his partner is gay.

This discrimination was identified in the recent Human Rights and Equal Opportunities Commission report, in which it was suggested that it ought to be changed. At the time, Commonwealth Attorney-General Phillip Ruddock said that the Government would consider each change on a case by case basis.

It was reported last week that Justice Kirby had written to the Government last week, noting the discrimination, and seeking that the law be changed. As of Thursday last week,gay activist Rodney Croome and representatives from the Queensland Association for Healthy Communities and PFLAG met with officers from the Attoreny-General's department.

Any joy about removing the discrimination for Justice Kirby was shortlived- Mr Ruddock rejected any proposed change for Justice Kirby ahead of any broad ranging reform.

See article in The Australian.

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