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Wednesday, 16 October 2002
Page: 5241

Senator HARRADINE (10:53 AM) —First of all, I need to declare an interest. I think I am a holder of a gold pass but I think I have lost it. When I first came here, they gave us a gold pass. I was pretty strapped for cash then. I showed it to tram conductors in Melbourne and they seemed to recognise it and okayed it. I know that was a bit stingy, but I could not have paid him a zack.

Senator Faulkner —You wouldn't get away with it now.

Senator HARRADINE —No. Ultimately, there was a connie who did not recognise it.

Senator Murray —Can I borrow it, Brian?

Senator HARRADINE —If I can find it, you are welcome to it. It is somewhere in the files in my office and, when I get out of this place, no doubt I will find it. At that stage I will not be wanting to flip around the place; I will be very happy to just stay in Tasmania.

Senator Abetz —Bushwalk instead of fly.

Senator HARRADINE —Bushwalking, yes. Having made that declaration, I refer to the fact that the taxpayer is going to fund whatever entitlements there may be. I am not an expert on parliamentary entitlements, but the definition of spouse is an important one. It is not a question of discrimination; it is a question in this instance of a piece of legislation which is consistent with the provisions in the key legislation—that is, the Family Law Act. The Family Law Act indicates that marriage is the union of a man and a woman voluntarily entered into for life. Spouse here, as defined in relation to a person, means a person legally married—a legally married husband or a legally married wife. Not only is that a very deep matter to be considered from a societal point of view but also I would have thought it quite easy under these circumstances to identify who the spouse is—that is, the person who is a legally married husband or a legally married wife— whereas Senator Murray's amendment, which relates somewhat to Senator Faulkner's amendment, says:

spouse in relation to a person, includes another person who, although not legally married to the person, lives with the person on a permanent bona fide domestic basis.

I do not know whether the Clerk of the Senate or whoever will be responsible for administering this measure will have to find that out. It is a pretty difficult one. I do not know whether it is meant to include, for example, a daughter of a member of parliament whose spouse has died. Would you call the daughter, for the purpose of this legislation, a spouse? They are important things to be considered. I have been through this; I have been there and done that. We do have to consider the ramifications because they are quite serious ramifications in that respect.

Senator Faulkner —Help, help.

Senator HARRADINE —Help, yes.