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Thursday, 16 October 2008
Page: 6244

Senator HANSON-YOUNG (3:39 PM) —The Greens also do not support the amendments circulated by Senator Brandis on behalf of the opposition. I am not exactly sure where the argument comes from that this legislation somehow encourages polygamy or even legitimises it, which seems to be what Senator Brandis is saying. A significant number of heterosexual de facto couples are still married. It is important that, if we are to redefine the meaning of de facto to include same-sex couples, we recognise the diversity of relationships from which people come. It essentially reflects the reality of people’s lives. The Greens believe that the weaker party in a relationship should be recognised by the courts, and that is where one part of a couple is considered to be currently in another relationship, de facto or married. The partner in this relationship should still be recognised as a partner of that relationship.

To suggest that the parliament would somehow be endorsing polygamy is simply ridiculous, or perhaps, as the minister said, bizarre. It is simply, as I said, a reflection of the reality of people’s lives, and so to deny court access to a partner upon the break-up of their relationship is irresponsible and unjust.