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sometimes blue
DrewI am a thirty something married gay boy living in Sydney, almost on top of the gay scene but not in it! Why Sometimes blue?, because I love blue, but also I am sometimes blue :)
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Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Yet again Howard's Government blocks equality

Gay judge pension move blocked

August 14, 2007 - 10:46AM

The Howard Government last night blocked a push by Labor to extend pension rights to the partners of homosexual judges.

During debate on a bill making unrelated technical changes to the superannuation of federal judges, Labor introduced an amendment that would end decades of discrimination against homosexual judges.
But the Government argued the amendment was inappropriate given cabinet was about to consider a broader package of legal and financial rights for gay couples that extended further than judges.
It used its numbers to defeat the amendment. The minster Malcolm Turnbull and Liberal backbencher Warren Entsch, who are pushing within the Coalition to end such discrimination, were among those who voted to defeat the amendment. The Labor candidate Mr Turnbull's seat of Wentworth, George Newhouse, said the actions of his rival "stink of hypocrisy".
Under current law, if a retired judge in a heterosexual relationship dies before his or her partner, the partner is entitled to 62.5 per cent of the judge's pension.
If the judge is homosexual, then his or her partner gets nothing.
The discrimination faced by same-sex couples was highlighted a month ago when the High Court judge Michael Kirby called for the law to be changed so his partner of 38 years, Johan van Vloten, could have access to a part-pension payable for life should Justice Kirby die first.
This right would be automatic if Mr van Vloten were female.
The Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission published a report in June finding same-sex couples were discriminated against in 58 areas of financial and work-related entitlements.
Labor frontbencher Nicola Roxon mentioned Justice Kirby last night as she moved the amendment.
"There is no suggestion that a judge who is in a same-sex relationship is any less worthy of receiving a pension as one who is in a heterosexual relationship," she said.
"But if he were to die before or after his retirement, the person whom he has loved and forged a life with for nearly four decades would get nothing, not a single thing."
The Attorney-General Philip Ruddock said the Government was still considering the report and the broader package of Commonwealth defined benefit schemes and he would not deal with judges in isolation.
"That is one which, I would say, is not necessarily as deserving as those relating to returned servicemen and those relating to Commonwealth public servants," he said.
"It is inappropriate to single out members of the judiciary in advance of the consideration of the members of other defined benefit schemes."
Mr Ruddock complained the changes, if implemented, would cost money, and Labor's case-by-case approach was financially irresponsible.



At Thu Aug 16, 12:23:00 AM EST, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I thought that Oz was supposed to be a vibrant and mixed society, not a closed and bigotted one! It would be a shame if one government was able to wreck that world perception.....


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