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Same-sex relationship law reform.

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Senator the Hon George Brandis SC Shadow Attorney-General

The Coalition supports in principle the measures announced by the Attorney-General this morning to end discrimination against same-sex couples.

I have for many years been of the view that discrimination against same-sex couples should be eliminated, and was one of many Liberal MPs and Senators who raised this issue during the Howard Government.

On 29 November last year, at his first press conference as Leader, Dr Nelson indicated that the Coalition would support such measures. I share his view that reform is overdue.

I note that Mr McClelland has said that the Government is not proposing amendments in relation to the definition of marriage, or permitting adoption by same-sex couples. This is consistent with the Coalition's thinking.

The Liberal Party has always believed that the equal rights of every individual are paramount, and that laws which discriminate against people on irrelevant grounds have no place in a liberal democracy. Sexuality-based discrimination is one of the remaining areas in which some existing laws violate that principle.

I will examine the Government's draft bill carefully when it is available.