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HREOC media release: HREOC supports legislation giving equal rights to same-sex couples

Commission Commission – General

14 August 2007

HREOC supports legislation giving equal rights to same-sex couples

The Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission (HREOC) has expressed support for legislation seeking to implement the recommendations of HREOC's Same-Sex: Same Entitlements Report.

The Same-Sex: Same Entitlements Bill was introduced in the Senate today by the Australian Democrats. The Bill's stated purpose is to implement the recommendations of HREOC’s Same-Sex: Same Entitlements Inquiry report which was tabled in federal Parliament on 21 June 2007.

“All political parties have expressed support for removing discrimination against same-sex couples in the area of financial and work-related entitlements and this Bill does precisely that,” Human Rights Commissioner Graeme Innes AM, said.

“HREOC went to great efforts to make it as easy as possible for parliamentarians to prepare legislation which would quickly and effectively remove discrimination against same-sex couples.

“The introduction of this Bill so quickly after the release of our report shows that the blueprint we produced was worthwhile,” Mr Innes said.

The Same-Sex: Same Entitlements Inquiry found that 58 federal laws breached the human rights of more than 20,000 same-sex couples in Australia. The Inquiry recommended that omnibus legislation be introduced to remove that discrimination.

“This Same-Sex: Same Entitlements Bill is effectively the omnibus legislation we recommended,” Mr Innes said.

The Same-Sex: Same Entitlements report is based on HREOC’s recent National Inquiry into discrimination against people in same-sex relationships in the area of financial and work-related entitlements. The Inquiry held public hearings and community forums around Australia and received 680 submissions covering a range of topics, many of which described first-hand the impact of discriminatory laws on same-sex couples and their children.

For media summaries see: http://www.humanrights.gov.au/human_rights/samesex/report/media/index.html

The final report is available online at www.humanrights.gov.au/human_rights/samesex/report/

Media contact: Louise McDermott 02 9284 9851 or 0419 258 597