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Wednesday, 16 October 2002
Page: 5242


Senator FAULKNER (Leader of the Opposition in the Senate) (10:59 AM) —I move opposition amendment (1) that has been circulated on sheet 2667 revised as a request:

(1) Clause 4, page 5 (lines 14 and 15), omit the definition of spouse, substitute:

spouse in relation to a person, includes another person who, although not legally married to the person, lives with the person on a bona fide domestic basis as the husband or wife of the person.

I have spoken to this and I have argued the case for this preferred course of action as opposed to the one that we have decided not to progress—the amendment that was moved by Senator Murray. The advantage of this, which certainly deals with the issue that Senator Harradine has raised—if there was an issue in what he raised; that is a matter for another day and is certainly a matter for another debate—is that it ensures that we have consistency with the definition of spouse in the Members of Parliament (Life Gold Pass) Bill 2002 and the Parliamentary Entitlements Act. As I said, if we do not do that, there will be an anomaly.

It is the view of the opposition and the Senate Finance and Public Administration Legislation Committee—which of course did not have an opposition majority—that looked at this bill and submissions to the committee that there needs to be a change to the antiquated definition that was proposed in the bill. The opposition feels the sensible way of dealing with this is to have the same definition apply in this bill that applies in the Parliamentary Entitlements Act.