Page 3953 - Week 13 - Tuesday, 12 December 2006

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incorporates findings from consultations conducted with young people and key community, government, legal and advocacy agencies from 23 January to 3 March 2006.

I would like to recognise the significant contributions made and express the ACT government’s appreciation to the young people and agencies who participated in these consultations. The consultation findings have informed the development of the exposure draft of the Children and Young People Bill 2006 that will be released for public comment later this month.

Debate (on motion by Mrs Burke) adjourned to the next sitting.

Civil Partnerships Bill 2006

Mr Corbell, by leave, presented the bill, its explanatory statement and a Human Rights Act compatibility statement.

Title read by Clerk.

MR CORBELL (Molonglo–Attorney-General, Minister for Police and Emergency Services and Minister for Planning) (10.50): I move:

That this bill be agreed to in principle.

It is with mixed feelings that I present the Civil Partnerships Bill 2006 today. The purpose of the Civil Partnerships Bill 2006 is to provide a scheme for two people, regardless of gender, to enter into a legally recognised partnership. This bill replaces the Civil Unions Act 2006, which was repealed as a consequence of its disallowance by the Governor-General.

It is unfortunate that the government is in this position. The Civil Unions Act 2006 was a law made by this Assembly, exercising the mandate given to it by the people of Canberra in the 2004 election. The Civil Unions Act 2006 was overturned by the commonwealth government using an old, autocratic process, using the Queen’s representative to quash the laws made by a democratically elected parliament. The decision of the commonwealth government to disallow the Civil Unions Act was a political action that reflects the particular ideology of the current commonwealth government.

The commonwealth government, while it asserted, and will no doubt continue to assert, that it was acting to protect the institution of marriage, was not prepared to test the matter via the courts or via the more democratic process of seeking to pass legislation in the federal parliament. Nor was the commonwealth government prepared to be sufficiently specific about its concerns to recommend amendments to the ACT Legislative Assembly, a course of action that was equally open to it under the self-government act.

Instead, the commonwealth government chose to exercise an executive fiat to disallow a law that was validly made by the ACT Legislative Assembly—a parliament constituted by the democratically elected representatives of the people of

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