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Abolish same-sex tax, super discrimination.



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MICHAEL DANBY MHR Press Release from the Federal Member for Melbourne Ports 13 October 2003 ABOLISH SAME-SEX TAX, SUPER DISCRIMINATION: DANBY The Howard Government should amend the Income Tax Assessment Act (ITAA) to remove discrimination against same-sex couples, Michael Danby MHR, Federal Member for Melbourne Ports, said today. “Today I called on the government to amend the ITAA to remove the requirement that de facto couples must be of opposite sex,” Mr Danby said. “This is a very simple amendment, simply requiring the Parliament to remove the phrase ‘as husband and wife’ from the definition of de facto.” Mr Danby said that a resident of his electorate had recently been a party to a Supreme Court case dealing with the division of the assets of her and her former partner. “Soon after this was finished, she received a very large capital gains tax bill from the Australian Taxation Office,” Mr Danby said. “Section 126-5 of the ITAA means that where property is transferred because of a marriage or de facto relationship breaking down, the transferor does not get hit with a capital gains tax bill.” “However,” Mr Danby continued, “this section only applies if the transfer involves ‘his or her spouse… or a former spouse’…However, the definition of de-facto [reflects], this government’s 1950s attitudes. [D]e facto is defined as ‘a relationship between 2 persons who, although not legally married to each other, live with each other on a bona fide domestic basis as husband and wife’.” Mr Danby said that this definition means that when a same-sex relationship breaks down, the couple will be subject to capital gains tax, simply because of their sexual orientation. “There are many other tax-breaks and concessions, which are only available to married or de-facto couples, and same-sex couples are denied access to these”, he said. “That is unfair, unjust and clearly discriminatory. Following on from the UN decision in the Young case, it is now incumbent on the government to amend all legislation which discriminates solely on the basis of sexuality, and I have asked the government a question in Parliament about this.” (see attached). “I have previously seconded a private Members Bill on same-sex superannuation, and recently I have launched a petition calling on the government to abide by international law, and eliminate discrimination on the basis of sexual preference,” Mr Danby continued. “Today, I also supported the Labor Party’s amendments to abolish sexuality discrimination in superannuation.” “Senator Nick Sherry moved an amendment in the Senate to ensure that same-sex and opposite-sex couples are treated identically when one partner dies, and this amendment passed the Senate with the assistance of the Greens and the Democrats”, Mr Danby concluded. “Now the Democrats have back-flipped, deciding that the issue is not important enough to insist on the amendments. The Democrats, who claim to have supported equal treatment in superannuation for ten years, have lost all credibility on the issue.” For more information: Michael Danby MHR: (02) 6277 4713 or 0408 561 497 Daniel Casey: (02) 6277 4713 or 0402 484 210

Michael Danby MHR Federal Member for Melbourne Ports

Question on Notice to: The Minister for Veteran’s Affairs 1) Is the Minister aware of the recent ruling by the Human Rights Committee (HRC)of the United Nations in the case of Young v Australia?

a. What did the HRC say in this case? b. What did the HRC say about s5E of the Veterans’ Entitlement Act 2) Does the Act deprived Mr Edward Young of a pension solely on the grounds of his sexual orientation? 3) Will the government now re-consider Mr Young’s application, as requested by the HRC? 4) Is the HRC decision binding in domestic law? 5) Is the HRC decision binding in international law?

6) Is the government under an obligation to respond to the findings of the HRC? a. What is the government’s response? 7) Is the Minister aware of statements by the Prime Minister on August 24, 2001 that he is opposed to discrimination on sexual preference?

a. Will the Minister now take immediate steps to being into the House an amendment to the Act that will remove this discriminatory anomaly?

Question on Notice to: The Attorney-General 8) Is the Minister aware of the recent ruling by the Human Rights Committee of the United Nations in the case of Young versus Australia?

a. What did the HRC say in this case? b. What did the HRC say about s5E of the Veterans’ Entitlement Act 10) Is the HRC decision binding in domestic law? 11) Is the HRC decision binding in international law? 12) Is the government under an obligation to respond to the findings of the HRC?

a. What is the government’s response? 13) Has the government considered what other areas of Commonwealth laws and payments may be effected by the decision of the HRC a. What are these? 14) Is the Minister aware of statements by the Prime Minister on August 24, 2001 that he is

opposed to discrimination on grounds of sexual preference? 15) Will the Minister now introduce Bills to ensure that Australia is compliant with International law?

Submitted by Michael Danby MHR On Wednesday 10 September 2003