Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2003 Week 3 Hansard (11 March) . . Page.. 890 ..
are going to find that in future all legislation is going to be checked out to see whether there are any hierarchical limits placed upon it.
I believe that you are ignoring the wishes of a great many people out there who wish to see their own circumstances properly recognised in law, and I would urge you to reconsider.
MR STEFANIAK(4.30): I think Mr Cornwell used some very sage words. The Chief Minister and other members are ignoring the wishes of a lot of people out there who want their own circumstances replicated in law.
I would like to refer to a few issues that have been raised to date. The Chief Minister said that the amendment is judgmental. It is not. It goes through three types of domestic partnerships, and I will come back to that.
Mrs Dunne made a very good point about people in some current relationships who might feel diminished in legal terms. I did not think this legislation was meant to be about taking away the rights of certain classes of people. I thought it was a means of ensuring fairness right across the board; and fairness to some people in the community who feel they might not have had fairness applied to them in the past. I certainly am very concerned that there might well be some people now who feel that their current relationship has been diminished. Mr Smyth's amendment-and, indeed, his subsequent amendment which juggles around the (a), (b) and (c) categories-would ensure that no-ones situation will be diminished.
I said earlier that I have some concerns as to whether this bill is consistent with federal law and, indeed, a number of people who have written in have had similar concerns. Ms Dundas made an interesting comment that Mr Smyth's amendment would make it easier to stop same-sex adoptions. For her benefit, I would think that, on the question of same-sex adoptions, it would not matter one iota whose definition got up. That is another question entirely.
Mr Smyth's amendment is very clear. He lists the three areas of domestic partnership. Not everyone in our community is in a domestic partnership. Some of them might have been at some stage. We hear that a lot of people in our community live in different sorts of family arrangements. But Mr Smyth has quite clearly listed the three types of domestic partnerships.
From what I was told at a briefing that I had on this matter I suspect that probably a minority of people in our community currently live in a domestic partnership. I was advised that some 35 per cent of people actually lived in a legal marriage, and that about 7 per cent or 8 per cent of people of the opposite sex lived in a de facto relationship-I would have thought that might have been a bit higher. I was also told by government officials that 0.74 per cent of people were living in a same-sex de facto type arrangement. Again, I would have thought that might have been higher. So there are a lot of people who are not in domestic partnerships, and that is fine.
Mr Smyth has ably put forward the three types of domestic partnerships, and I think that separation helps when you are looking for consistency with other acts. The first type of