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Thursday, 16 December 1993
Page: 4874

Senator SHORT (5.29 p.m.) —I was listening in my room to this interchange and I want to support very strongly the remarks just made by my colleague Senator Teague. Frankly, the minister has got it absolutely all wrong. To use the migration regulations' definition of `family' in the context in which she has—at least this was the implication—is an absolute red herring. The definition of `family' in the migration regulations is that of close relationship between persons. The minister is saying that `family' means a close relationship between persons, without gender. In fact, the particular regulation which she quoted—I think it was class 814—is the interdependency visa, and the interdependency visa is expressly for homosexual couples. Senator Teague explained the reasons why such a visa was introduced. This has no bearing at all, as I understand it, on the definition of `family' in the context of this debate. I think we ought to have that clearly on the record.

  I am very surprised that the minister was not aware of that because to confuse the two is really to try to put two completely different concepts together. I hope that that is made absolutely clear not only for the record but also in a practical sense. Hopefully, the minister is now more aware of the real situation so far as the migration regulations are concerned than she appeared to be.