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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2006 Week 6 Hansard (8 June) . . Page.. 1915..

MR CORBELL (Molonglo-Attorney-General, Minister for Police and Emergency Services and Minister for Planning) (11.53): I move:

That this bill be agreed to in principle.

I am introducing the Civil Unions Amendment Bill 2006 as a matter of some urgency. The purpose of the bill is to amend requirements for the minimum period of time between the giving of notice of intention to enter into a civil union and the entering of the civil union. Specifically, this bill will shorten the minimum time requirement in section 11 of the act from one month to five days.

Section 11 provides that two people who have given the required notice of their intention to enter into a civil union may then enter into a civil union by making a declaration before a civil union celebrant and at least one other witness. The act currently states that this declaration must be made not earlier than one month after the day the notice was given to the civil union celebrant. The amendment shortens this minimum period to five days.

The government feels compelled to take this action because of the federal government's recent announcement that it intends to override the Civil Unions Act 2006. The federal government's decision is unacceptable and undemocratic. It is important that ordinary Canberrans be given the opportunity as soon as possible to be part of a civil union.

This is legislation that should be available to the people of the ACT. This bill will facilitate civil unions occurring by reducing the notification period for people indicating they wish to enter into a civil union. As a complementary measure, the government will bring forward the commencement of the act so that it will commence within the next two weeks.

Ordinary Canberrans in same-sex relationships are entitled to have the same rights under the law as other members of the community. This is fair, reasonable and just. By overriding the Civil Unions Act, the Howard government is imposing its conservative, moral views on the thousands of people who are in loving, committed and meaningful same-sex relationships. This step will allow Canberrans in same-sex relationships to enter into a civil union quickly and to show the Howard government their support for this legislation. I commend the bill to the Assembly.

Debate (on motion by Mrs Dunne ) adjourned to a later hour this day.

Working Families in the Australian Capital Territory-Select Committee

Alteration of reporting date

MR GENTLEMAN (Brindabella) (11.57): I move:

That the resolution of the Assembly establishing the Select Committee on Working Families in the Australian Capital Territory, agreed to on 5 May 2005, be amended as follows: Omit "first sitting day in August 2006", substitute "first sitting day in October 2006".

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