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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2002 Week 5 Hansard (8 May) . . Page.. 1297 ..

MS DUNDAS (continuing):

I am disappointed to hear the Chief Minister quite happily dividing our community into different-sex de facto couples and same-sex de facto couples. If we are going to allow this referral to go ahead, it must be for all de facto couples. We cannot reinforce the divide that exists in our community. I believe my amendment makes this point very clearly to the federal government.

To me, this is a fundamental human rights issue. We cannot reinforce the divide in our community. I accept that we need to clarify the situation as to how the courts deal with the separation of de facto couples. That should be for all de facto couples, be they same-sex or not.

I urge the Assembly to support my amendment so we send a strong message to the federal government that this Assembly does not accept homophobia or such blatant discrimination.

MS TUCKER: I seek leave to speak to Ms Dundas' amendment.

Leave granted.

MS TUCKER: I am sorry about the process. I had not seen this amendment until a little while ago. That is the problem-we need time to consider this. That is why I waited to hear what the Attorney-General had to say-because he obviously has the resources to obtain support, and respond to the amendment.

I am concerned. This amendment is suggesting a very serious thing. Of course, I understand the point Ms Dundas is making-she feels it is further entrenching a discriminatory practice. However, I do not think it was fair to say that Mr Stanhope was happily entrenching that. From my understanding of his speech, he could see the dilemma.

I am not going to happily support Ms Dundas' amendment. I am obviously concerned, as I think Mr Stanhope, the Labor Party and Mr Hargreaves are, about discriminatory practices against people due to their sexuality. However, the questions I have which have not been answered by Ms Dundas in putting this amendment, which she should be able to argue, are questions about the constitutional issues of section 122. What does this actually mean for women, in particular?

I am happy to give Ms Dundas leave again for this one, if that is necessary. In the argument, she needed to have put what the impact will be, for example, on women. If I support this amendment, what am I doing in terms of those de facto couples who have been disadvantaged because of the current situation? I want time to consider that.

I do not want to support something that is going to further disadvantage women because of the current situation. Of course we do not want to entrench discriminatory practices, but we also need to not throw the baby out with the bath water. We need time to think

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