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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2006 Week 5 Hansard (11 May) . . Page.. 1636..


MR CORBELL (continuing):

The government thinks this is a sensible way forward. We have sought to respond to the concerns of the commonwealth on this matter, but we do not agree that one party must be 18. There is simply no logical argument for it. If you can enter into a consenting sexual relationship at the age of 16, why can you not enter into a formal domestic relationship at the same age? That is the purpose of the government's amendment, and that is why we are pursuing the matter in the way that is outlined in the bill.

MR STEFANIAK (Ginninderra) (9.33): I am not sure if this amendment is better than what is in the bill. We in the opposition, I think it is true to say, have a significant problem with minors entering into something as significant as a civil union. You yourselves have equated civil union with marriage; you are not trying to say it is any less important. You state that a civil union is different to a marriage but is to be treated, for all purposes under territory law, in the same way as a marriage. So I assume, Mr Corbell, that you are saying that civil union is right up there, absolutely equal with marriage. My understanding of a civil union, a registration, a marriage, is that it is the recognition of a longstanding commitment by two people who love each other to the exclusion of all else. It does not matter if they are of the same sex or opposite sexes. You are being complete hypocrites. In the same day we see—

Mr Corbell: Where is the time limit?

Mr Hargreaves: On a point of order: Mr Stefaniak indicated we are all hypocrites, I think that is unparliamentary language. I got pulled up for it before.

MR SPEAKER: Mr Stefaniak, it is a personal imputation. You should withdraw that comment.

MR STEFANIAK: I was talking about you all.

MR SPEAKER: It does not matter. An imputation against all of them is an imputation against each one of them.

Mrs Dunne interjecting—

MR SPEAKER: Thank you for your assistance, Mrs Dunne.

MR STEFANIAK: I am not going to waste time on this, Mr Speaker. The government is being completely inconsistent. We have dealt with two pieces of legislation today. Sixteen and 17-year-olds cannot be detained under the government's anti-terrorist legislation because they are children. To be classified as an adult you have to be 18 or over. What is the difference? An 18-year-old can vote. The federal Marriage Act provides for one party being 18 and one being 16. We are talking about a longstanding commitment. I do not think that anyone who wants to enter into a civil union wants to do so lightly. We are talking about people who are legally children. The government has tightened the bill a little. The amendment states:

(4) If a consent required under subsection (1) (b)—


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