Legislation to be introduced next month by the Rudd government will offer gay and lesbian couples a broad new set of rights, the Sydney Morning Herald reports today:
“The federal Attorney-General, Robert McClelland, will announce today that the necessary legislation will be introduced when Parliament resumes next month for the winter sittings. The measures do not amount to gay marriage; they afford gay couples the same treatment as heterosexual de facto couples in areas such as tax, superannuation sharing and social security…other areas to be reformed include health, aged care, veterans’ entitlements, workers’ compensation, employment and entitlements. ‘In keeping with the election commitment, the changes do not alter the marriage laws,’ Mr McClelland said. ‘They will make a practical difference to the everyday lives of a group of our fellow Australians who have suffered discriminations under Commonwealth laws for far too long.’ All the changes would be operational by the middle of next year; most will begin as soon as legislation is passed.”
The legislation is expected to pass through the Senate easily.