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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2003 Week 3 Hansard (13 March) . . Page.. 1023 ..



Martin Luther King Jr once said:

If you start treating equally all those who have been treated unequally, you capture them forever in their inequality.

By continuing to allow Winnunga to remain in the situation they are in-having to work through mainstream bureaucracy, without adequate support or particular recognition of the model of health care they provide-issues of inequality cannot be properly addressed.

Legislation (Gay, Lesbian and Transgender) Amendment Bill 2002

Detail stage

Clause 4.

Debate resumed from 11 March 2003.


(Chief Minister, Attorney-General, Minister for Community Affairs and Minister for the Environment) (12.13): Amendment No 4 inserts an example at the end of the definition of domestic partnership. The example lists a number of indicators that may be relevant to determining whether two people are in a domestic partnership.

The example will assist the court and make it clear that the definition is intended to be interpreted broadly, having regard to a number of factors. The use of an example will aid interpretation but will place no restriction on the court in deciding whether particular circumstances fall within the definition.

As I noted previously, this is ensured by the operation of section 132 of the Legislation Act 2001, which provides that in an act an example is not exhaustive and may extend but does not limit the meaning of the act or provision to which it relates. I believe that this form of definition provides a better, more flexible approach to defining something that may have many forms of expression.

On Tuesday of this week there was some significant debate and discussion in the chamber on the definition of domestic partnership and what constituted a domestic partnership or domestic relationship. I will not go into those issues in detail again, other than to say that the government, in this bill, has provided a definition that is designed to be inclusive and to recognise the range of domestic relationships which are part and parcel of our community and which are constituted within our community across the spectrum.

We are making an amendment to explain some of the circumstances or facts that would be taken into account. It is not an exclusive list. The courts have dealt with such definitions in relation to de factos and people living together in a bona fide domestic relationship. It is the government's firm view that we should not trammel that body of experience by a specific and less flexible approach to the definition of something which we know can take many forms and essentially is at the heart of the legislation that the government has introduced.

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