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Wednesday, 16 October 2002
Page: 5239

Senator BROWN (10:40 AM) —On behalf of the Greens, I support the amendment. The gold pass comes out of the steam train age and so does the definition of spouse in the legislation. As you know, I too am opposing the Members of Parliament (Life Gold Pass) Bill 2002 overall, or rather amending it to abolish the gold pass, but this amendment by Senator Murray on behalf of the Democrats should be supported. I note that recently the Tasmanian government has moved to redefine the law, for superannuation and other purposes, to include all supportive relationships. It goes beyond those that Senator Murray just mentioned to include people who have long-term supportive relationships which do not involve sexual relationships at all. The question is: why should people who have lived for decades supporting each other be denied the opportunity to transfer benefits on their death to the surviving partner in such a relationship? This parliament is way behind Tasmania in that regard. It should catch up. I think the Labor Party should be supporting this amendment, if it is to be true to its policy base. I think the government should be supporting it as well. The Greens will be.