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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2002 Week 5 Hansard (8 May) . . Page.. 1289 ..

MR HUMPHRIES (Leader of the Opposition) (11.41): Mr Speaker, I do not propose to talk to Ms Dundas' amendment at this stage; I propose to talk to the substantive motion.

As Mr Hargreaves has outlined, the opposition has, in the past, supported legislation-in fact, it has initiated legislation on some occasions-to ensure that, in ACT law, discrimination should not occur against people on the basis of their sex or sexuality. It remains the case that we believe reform should occur, to ensure that the access of people in de facto relationships-be they heterosexual or homosexual relationships-is the same, to the extent that that is reasonable, and judged by this Assembly and the other legislatures of Australia to be appropriate.

As such, the opposition is supportive of the motion moved by Mr Hargreaves, although I must express some misgivings about the reference to the Commonwealth in the motion. I think that takes the matter too far and, in some ways, contradicts part of the intention of the motion. I will come back to that in a moment.

The Domestic Relationships Act was moved by the then Attorney-General, Mr Connolly, in, I think, 1993. It had the support at that time of the Liberal opposition. The view of the then government and opposition was that access to property rights at the end of a relationship, either through death or other events, should not be affected by the sex or sexuality of the individuals involved in that relationship.

I am proud to say that, some three or four years later, when the Liberal Party was in government, that legislation was extended. As Ms Tucker has said, for quite some time it remained the benchmark legislation in Australia with respect to treatment of de facto relationships.

MR SPEAKER: Can I interrupt. I do not want to interrupt the flow but you said at first that you were not speaking to the amendment. I am reminded that House of Representatives Practice requires you to speak to the amendment, because that is the question before the house. I will read it to you: It says:

When an amendment has been moved, and the question on the amendment proposed by the Chair, a Member speaking subsequently is considered to be speaking to both the original question and the amendment. Accordingly, the Member cannot speak again to the original question after the amendment has been disposed of.

That is without leave, of course.

MR HUMPHRIES: That might be a perfectly valid point of order, Mr Speaker, but Ms Tucker has just spoken without speaking to Ms Dundas' amendment as well, and I wonder why she did.

MR SPEAKER: Well, she did not say that she was speaking only-

MR HUMPHRIES: Well, I will not say it either. I withdraw the comment I made at the beginning of my remarks.

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