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Tuesday, 25 November 2008
Page: 11260


Mr McCLELLAND (Attorney-General) (5:00 PM) —I move:

That the requested amendments be agreed to.

Amendment (1) requested by the Senate will amend the definition of step-parent in section 4(1) of the Family Law Act. The amended definition of step-parent will include a current or former de facto partner of a parent of the child where he or she treats, or while the de facto partner of that parent treated, the child as a member of the family he or she formed with the parent. As a consequence, an amendment will also be made to section 66M(3)(b) of the Family Law Act, which relates to obligations of step-parents to maintain children. The amended provision requires the court to have regard to the length and circumstances of the marriage or relationship of the step-parent with the parent of the stepchild in determining whether the step-parent has a duty to maintain the stepchild. The amendment will also provide that the amendments to the Family Law Act will only affect the Child Support (Registration and Collection) Act from 1 July 2009 in line with other changes to the Child Support Scheme. I commend the requested amendment to the House.

Amendment (2) requested by the Senate will remove any discrimination against same-sex couples and their families in the Child Support Scheme. In summary, the amendment will, firstly, amend provisions in the Child Support (Assessment) Act 1989 that relate to the concept of parent in order to maintain consistency between that act and the Family Law Act and, secondly, amend the definitions of ‘de facto relationship’ and ‘member of a couple’ in the Child Support (Assessment) Act 1989 to recognise both same- and opposite-sex de facto relationships and registered relationships within the meaning of section 22B of the Acts Interpretation Act. It will also insert a tracing rule in the Child Support (Assessment) Act 1989 and the Child Support (Registration and Collection) Act 1988. I commend the requested amendment to the House.

Question agreed to.