Heavy on symbolism: will Queensland grant civil partnerships?
Tonight the Queensland parliament will vote on the Treasurer, Andrew Fraser’s Private Members Bill for civil partnerships. This will allow civil unions to be celebrated and recognised in Queensland as well as civil unions to be recognised from interstate and overseas. Civil partnerships will be available for both gay and straight couples.
The numbers are finally balanced. Labor MP’s have been told that they have a conscience vote. Three Labor MP’s have gone on the record to say that they are opposed to civil partnerships: Margaret Keech, Michael Choi and Jo-Ann Miller.
It is not known at this stage how the other Labor members will vote, but there are probably only one or two votes in it.
LNP members have been told by their party to vote against the Bill. If the debate on the Surrogacy Bill last year is any guide, then all the independent MP’s will vote against the Bill.
When the Bill was considered by the parliamentary committee, the Labour MP’s voted in favour of it, the LNP members against it, and the sole independent on the committee also voted against it, citing the Bible.
Tomorrow’s World AIDS Day – 1 December
The debate on the Bill commences at 7.30pm tonight. It is most unlikely that the Bill will be passed before midnight and it is most likely that the crucial votes on the Bill will take place sometime between 3am and 5am tomorrow on World Aids Day. What an achievement it will be for equality if on the 30th anniversary of the discovery of AIDS there is a recognition of equality in civil partnerships in Queensland. What a bitter irony it will be if Queensland refuses to recognise civil partnerships on such a symbolic day.
There will be a rally at Queensland’s Parliament House in George Street at 5pm today. I am told the speakers will be the Premier Anna Bligh, the Treasurer Andrew Fraser and a “special guest”.