11 September 2003

Senate Resolution on Sexuality Discrimination

That, in the opinion of the Senate, the following is a matter of urgency:

The need for the Australian Government to acknowledge that on 6 August 2003, in the case of Young vs Australia, the United Nations Human Rights Committee found that:

(i)the Australian Government's refusal to grant Mr Young a pension on the ground that he does not come within the definition of %u201Cdependant%u201D, for having been in a same-sex relationship, violates his rights under article 26 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights on the basis of his sexual orientation;

(ii)the Australian Government provided no argument on how the distinction between same-sex partners and unmarried heterosexual partners is reasonable and objective, and no evidence which would point to the existence of factors justifying such a distinction was advanced;

(iii)as a victim of a violation of article 26, Mr Young is entitled to an effective remedy, including the reconsideration of his pension application without discrimination based on his sex or sexual orientation, if necessary through an amendment of the law;

(iv)the Australian Government is under an obligation, as a signatory to the First Optional Protocol to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, to ensure that similar violations of the Covenant do not occur in the future; and

the need for the Australian Government to legislate for partnership recognition of same-sex couples under Commonwealth law.

This passed 32/31. Tasmania has also passed a gay and lesbian law reform. The Howard government will, of couse, do nothing.

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