Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2008 Week 05 Hansard (Thursday, 8 May 2008) . . Page.. 1769 ..
to proceed with the original bill. But I think Dr Foskey is living in an alternate paradigm if she thinks that we could have achieved what she is suggesting, and I think she fails—deliberately fails—to understand the realities of the situation.
I also object on the part of the many good people I know who consider themselves to be Christians, Catholics, whatever, and fundamentally do not believe in the right of two people of the same sex to actually form a civil union. I do not agree with them and they know that I do not agree with them, but I do respect that that is their position. Dr Foskey is suggesting that it is just about power and trying to hold political power over women and the sexual preference minority. I do not agree with that.
I want to make a couple of responses to Mr Mulcahy’s comments, from my perspective. I suggest that just because the majority are happy to take the easy path does not make it the right path. The majority are not opposed to getting rid basically of discrimination but are not necessarily prepared to take that extra step and acknowledge the people who have been living in long-term same-sex relationships who cannot form a civil union. That does not make it the right path. I have many friends in same-sex relationships who I know would love to be able to enter into a civil union. I also have a brother-in-law who has been in a long-term relationship and I am sure that they would love to be able to enter into a civil union.
What you fail to acknowledge in your speech, Mr Mulcahy, is the differential treatment by the commonwealth of the ACT compared with the other states—the discriminatory treatment of the residents of the ACT who have elected their own people to determine their own path. In the last 20 years the commonwealth and many people in this territory have been dragged kicking and screaming towards the right of this town to self-determination. It was easy in the first instance to hand over self-government to the ACT. They thought it would be less of a thorn in their side.
But people in this town have continuously opposed self-government. The fact is that we have an elected parliament, Assembly—call it what you will—but it is a parliament of sorts even if it does not actually fit into the formal definition. We have to take that seriously. We cannot say that on the one hand we will be a parliament, but on the other hand, if things are a little bit too dodgy, then we are not going to agree to it; we actually hope that the commonwealth government will step in and say, “No, you cannot do this.” I just wanted to make those points.
Finally, I would like to thank Mr Corbell, the current Attorney-General, and Mr Stanhope, the former Attorney-General, and I understand Ms Gallagher as well, for their work in the last week in their negotiations with the commonwealth government. While it is not what we actually wanted to achieve in the long run, I accept that it is what we could get at the end of the day.
MR CORBELL (Molonglo—Attorney-General, Minister for Police and Emergency Services) (2.34 am), in reply: I would like to thank all members who have contributed to this debate and I would especially like to acknowledge the very heartfelt and passionate views of my Labor colleagues on this very important piece of legislation.
Tonight, in closing the debate, I would like to speak about three groups of people who I think have all contributed to the outcome that we see tonight. The outcome tonight is