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Friday, 5 December 1986
Page: 3481

Senator HARRADINE(10.55) —While the Minister is considering that point, I raise this question: Under what section of the Constitution does the Government seek to give recognition to a de facto relationship on the same basis as the recognition of a marital relationship? In the last proposed amendment, it is clear that the Government is seeking to rely on the external affairs power. I am not referring to Commonwealth territories and so on, but insofar as it affects the States, the Government is seeking to rely on the external affairs power and on the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women. That talks about discrimination on a number of bases, including marital status.

Again, I point out that I happened to be in New York as a political adviser at the time that this was being debated in 1977. There was absolutely no discussion, to my knowledge, about this. There was no suggestion that a non-married state would be equated with a married state for the purposes of the Convention. There is nothing in the travaux preparatoires which would suggest that. Indeed, in the administration and interpretation of the law, it is to the travaux preparatoires that the judges or the administrators would turn. I ask the Minister to point out anything in the travaux preparatoires which would enable the Government to seek to require the citizens of this country to recognise a non-married state as though it were a married state, and do so using the external affairs power and, in turn, the Convention.