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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2002 Week 6 Hansard (16 May) . . Page.. 1760..


MR BERRY (continuing):

again intended to confront the Indonesian authorities, and I am sure it did. There were thousands of pairs of Canberrans' shoes laid out to symbolise this protest which the people of the ACT had such a strong commitment to.

I merely rise to acknowledge all of those people in the ACT who have put a lot into this campaign. Mind you, not much blood was shed on those picket lines, but there were a lot of heartfelt good wishes for the campaign. I suppose we all regret that it was not successful earlier.

Question resolved in the affirmative.

Duties (Personal Relationship Agreements) Amendment Bill Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2002

Debate resumed from 9 May 2002, on motion by Mr Quinlan:

That this bill be agreed to in principle.

MR HUMPHRIES (Leader of the Opposition) (5.44): The opposition supports this bill. This bill provides that duty should not be payable in the event of certain agreements, being activated-agreements made as part of a marriage or agreements made between individuals in a domestic relationship. Under either territory law or Commonwealth law, it is possible for the person to make such agreements and to use them as a basis for settling disputes about property or assets if a marriage or a relationship should end.

This bill provides that when property is transferred pursuant to those agreements it should be exempt from duty. Although it entails about only $4,000 a year in loss of revenue, it is clearly quite an appropriate loss, given that it emphasises that these agreements are reached in order to avoid the enormous cost to the community which litigation would entail. So the forgoing of stamp duty is a small price to pay to facilitate these agreements being made, to encourage them to be made and to see that they are acted upon on a regular basis to produce settlements, thus avoiding litigation.

MS DUNDAS (5.45): I support the bill. It is positive to see that the bill continues to apply to all domestic relationships as defined by the Domestic Relationships Act 1994. I am also quite happy to see the government doing something positive to remove discrimination against same-sex couples.

As we know, some jurisdictions in Australia still discriminate against same-sex couples in the area of stamp duty. I believe that the ACT was one of the first Australian jurisdictions to extend a stamp duty exemption to property settlements following the breakdown of same-sex relationships, so some good has been done.

However, I would like to take this opportunity to remind the Assembly that on the ACT statute book there are still many areas of discrimination against same-sex couples and the Canberra queer community-the Adoption Act, the Compensation (Fatal Injuries) Act, the definition of family in the Workers Compensation Act, the Law Reform (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act. There are many, and they have been listed repeatedly as we have been discussing same-sex relationships. I trust that the point has been made that there is still a way to go before we can claim everyone is equal before the law in the


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