Tuesday, 5 January 2010

Back into it

I hope that everyone had a nice break over Christmas and the New Year. I did, and am now back into it. The reality for LGBTI people in Australia is that there remains discrimination, some hidden and some obvious, some deliberate, and some caused by bureaucratic mindsets and lack of thought. Those who are most discriminated against are transgendered people who still struggle to be heard.

The other realities are that there will be changes this year in law to make it more fair, and there will be changes in caselaw reflecting arrangements for property settlement and children for LGBTI people.

2009 brought tremendous change in laws for LGBTI people. By way of examples:
  • a raft of discriminatory laws were removed by the Rudd Government, in line with election promises, covering areas such as family law, Centrelink, public sector superannuation, and Medicare.
  • NSW also got rid of a raft of discriminatory laws.
  • de facto couples (including same sex couples) now have uniform laws on property settlement throughout Australia (excluding WA and SA). South Australia still discriminates in not recognising same sex couples for property settlement purposes.
  • the push for surrogacy laws continued. However this was tempered in Queensland with the regressive Surrogate Parenthood Act 1988 remaining in force. The Bligh Government has a bill to legalise altruistic surrogacy (but still to penalise those who use overseas commercial surrogacy clinics), but the LNP has its alternative version- to exclude same sex couples.
  • Queensland updated its adoption laws- but specifically excluded same sex couples from being eligible to adopt.
  • a gay couple were given standing in the Federal Magistrates Court to seek orders about a child for which neither man was the father, but both of whom were arguably considered father figures. The mother opposed their being able to go to court. Her former lesbian partner supported the men's efforts.
  • the Federal Magistrates Court decided that for a lesbian couple to be recognised as "parents" under the Family Law Act, they had to be a de facto couple at the time of conception, not the time of birth.

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