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Wednesday, 1 December 2004
Page: 136


Senator CHRIS EVANS (Leader of the Opposition in the Senate) (6:47 PM) —It is not likely that consideration of the bill will be completed tonight. I apologise for that, but I want to respond to the issues raised by Senator Greig and outline Labor's general response to the same-sex couple amendment. But before doing so I want to raise with Senator Greig my concern about the definition that has been used in this amendment. I do not understand why the Democrats have limited their amendment to the subset of the bill that deals with a utility allowance rather than dealing with issues more generally.

I do not know whether it is in response to Mr Young's case. It strikes me that the interdependence relationship definition would include a father and son or a mother and daughter who are living together. I note that there is a sort of boxed description underneath the amendment that refers to `entitlements of same sex couples', but it seems to me that the definition is much broader than same-sex couples. If my father were currently living with me, he and I would meet the definition. I do not think that is your intention. It is a technical question. We will be opposing the amendment, and I will lay out the reasons why. I just want to raise that issue with you, and when we continue the debate you might like to address it.