Thursday, November 10th, 2011

The Queensland Director of the Australian Christian Lobby, Wendy Francis, has appeared before the Legal Affairs Committee on the Civil Partnership Bill this morning, urging the Parliament to reject the Bill.

Ms Francis told the committee that the Bill attempts to mimic marriage which is not within state jurisdiction to legislate on.

“Although civil partnerships stop short of the name “marriage”, the Bill creates a scheme in which partnerships are similar to marriage in all other ways,” Ms Francis told the committee.

“It is an inappropriate use of Queensland Parliament’s resources, as marriage is a federal issue. It also seems to be an attempt to influence the ALP’s debate on marriage at its National Conference in December.”

Ms Francis said that the bill had lacked proper consultation and questioned why there was a need to hurry the issue.

“The way in which this bill has been put forward and rushed is of great public concern. Regardless of what our opinion is, this should be paused, allowing for greater public consultation. If there is public support for it, then its proponents have nothing to fear from greater consultation,” she said.

“The short timeframe shows how quickly the government is rushing to bring the bill back to Parliament for debate and a vote, ahead of the looming election due early next year.”

Ms Francis said that issues of discrimination had been removed through the amendment of Commonwealth laws in 2008.

“Claims in some of the submissions in favour of the Civil Partnerships Bill that it is needed to address issues of discrimination appear to be unfounded,” she said.

“This is acknowledged in the Explanatory Notes for the Civil Partnerships Bill, which says that those in same-sex relationships ‘have the same legal benefits and entitlements’ as opposite-sex couples.”

A copy of Ms Francis’ speech can be found on the ACL’s website here.