Same Sex: Submissions
I am a 59 year old gay man of UK descent, and an Australian citizen. I came to Australia 16 years ago to be with my partner, an Australian man, and we have been together ever since. In the absence of legal recognition of our relationship, we have had to take out wills in each others' names, powers of attorney and ensure that all our financial arrangements are joint. Neither of us owns anything in our individual rights - even our dogs! - which is probably not a bad thing.
However, now that I am approaching retirement next year I am having to look again at how I can protect my partner's financial interests should I die. We hope that my Australian superannuation fund will regard us as a couple because of all the other documentation we have accumulated, but that is not certain in law, which is a constant source of worry. I will be due a British superannuation payment and age pension next year. Unlike Australia, British superannuation is not paid as a lump sum, but as a monthly pension. Therefore, should I die, that payment would go to my next of kin, which in Australia is not my partner. We may have to travel to the UK before I retire, to register our relationship under recent British partnership legislation, to protect his interest. Were my partner to be a woman this would not be necessary - she would automatically receive the benefits as my widow. If Australia had similar partnership legislation, we would not need to go overseas to have our relationship recognised and our interests protected. We are both Australian citizens and feel that we should not have to look to a foreign country for our equal rights to be protected.
Thank you for the opportunity to make this submission.