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Wednesday, 12 November 2008
Page: 6782

Senator WONG (Minister for Climate Change and Water) (5:48 PM) —When various pieces of legislation are amended, there are often consequences for a whole range of legislation. We are very happy to provide a briefing on this issue if you wish but I invite you to recognise that amending one act, in and of itself, does not necessarily mean that consequential amendments are not then required for other legislation. In the context where we are amending some 68 pieces of Commonwealth legislation—for example, the general law reform bill—there are obviously consequences for various amendments that may be moved in this chamber. I encourage the Greens to be apprised of those consequences when considering the amendments they are putting to the Senate. In fact, you actually even note the consequential amendments that would be required in your own amendment. I reiterate that the use of the term ‘couple relationship’ would require extensive amendment to legislation. That is, in part, because the term ‘de facto relationship’ has been the key by which this antidiscrimination measure has been put. The advice I have is that the approach you are proposing would create problems in various pieces of legislation. Not only would it require further and more extensive legislative amendments but it would also create specific problems in relation to tax legislation. Also, it is inconsistent with the term used in the Family Law Amendment (De Facto Financial Matters and Other Measures) Bill 2008, so I invite you to reconsider the amendment.