This morning the ABC  played a snippet of LNP Campbell Newman’s comments at yesterday’s Meet Your Candidate Forum in Ashgrove about repealing the civil unions act that was passed at the end of the year. The ABC’s Spencer Howsen spoke to the Family Law Practitioners Association of Queensland’s Debra Awyzio afterwards about whether it was possible for Campbell Newman to change the law.

When Ms Awyzio was asked if repealing the Civil Unions Bill was a recipe for legal chaos she said “I think there definitely will be an upheaval because at the moment if someone is registered as a civil partner they have certain rights under succession laws. No it’s just their rights as partners – it’s their abilities to make claims, for further provision from the states. There’s amendments to Anti-discrimination Act. So it’s almost like taking a backward step. Where Queensland was looked at being quite forward-thinking in making this legislation now it has the effect that we’re looked at as taking a backward step. It’s not a good position to be in.”

The ACL would disagree with Ms Awyzio’s comments that repealing the laws would be a backward step for Queensland. The rights of partners, that Ms Awyzio refers to, could be ensured by introducing relationship registers for the purpose of recognition by government of the relationship. New South Wales, Victoria, Tasmania and the Australian Capital Territory have introduced relationships registers. The registers effectively remove unreasonable discrimination for same-sex couples, such as in terms of an individual’s ability to allocate their own finance and property, without mimicking marriage in the way civil unions or partnerships would.