Media Release

October 26, 2011

The Bligh Government is inappropriately using the Queensland Parliament to give a platform to same-sex marriage advocates in order to influence the outcome of debate at Labor’s National Conference in December, according to the Australian Christian Lobby.

ACL’s Queensland Director Wendy Francis said yesterday’s rushed same-sex civil unions Bill was a political stunt designed to push the cause of same-sex marriage, which is a Commonwealth issue, not a state issue.

“This is all about the up-coming conference fight within the ALP over its party policy on same-sex marriage as it continues to damage its brand with Australians who care deeply about marriage,” she said.

“It would be a different matter if the Bligh Government was seeking to address issues of genuine discrimination against same-sex couples instead of trying to give gay activists more leverage as they continue their push to redefine marriage in Commonwealth law.

Ms Francis said comments made by Labor politicians yesterday that the bill would allow same-sex couples’ relationships to be recognised to have legal access to superannuation in the event of death has probably already been dealt with in changes to Commonwealth laws.

“Same-sex couples have all the practical entitlements of heterosexual couples, so discrimination does not appear to be the issue as claimed,” she said.

“I suspect that with the 2008 amendments to 85 Commonwealth laws removing discrimination from same-sex couples, this civil union’s bill may be redundant. However, if there is any doubt the parliament should hold a thorough inquiry.

“I question how thorough the parliamentary committee will look at the legislation if Premier Anna Bligh intends to pass this legislation in the next eight days. Instead, if the Government was serious about addressing genuine discrimination, it would look at whether relationship registers such as those in New South Wales, Victoria or Tasmania were actually needed in Queensland,” she said.

Ms Francis said it was disappointing that the Federal ALP was considering redefining marriage at its December conference after the day set aside in parliament in August to talk about marriage had only 30 MPs report back and only six of those MPs said a majority of people in their electorate wanted change.[i]

“With 2008 Bertelsmann Stiftung research[ii]  showing that 25 per cent of Australians consider themselves deeply religious, it is simply unbelievable that a major party would allow the definition of marriage to be changed by two per cent of the population, when only a fraction of them will even take advantage of it.

“Overseas precedents in the very few countries where the definition of marriage has been changed as proposed, show only around 0.2 - 0.3 per cent of the general population actually take it up, hardly a reason to put offside more than 100 times that number, who hold the definition of marriage as between a man and a woman,” said Ms Francis.

Ms Francis welcomed the LNP’s decision to vote against the Government’s legislation as a matter of party policy.