A bill aimed at ending superannuation discrimination for same-sex couples in the private sector was passed in the federal Senate yesterday.

The Superannuation (Surcharge Rate Reduction) Amen-dment Bill 2003 was moved by ALP senator Nick Sherry. It was passed with the support of the Greens and the Democrats.

There shouldn’t be any discrimination against same-sex couples in respect to their superannuation. It’s their right to be able to choose what they do with it and there shouldn’t be any rules that prohibit them from doing as they wish, Sherry told the Star.

This is the first time the ALP has moved to support superannuation reform for same-sex couples. The Democrats have attempted to have similar bills passed on 11 occasions, without success or support from the ALP.

Democrats senator John Cherry told the Star he was pleased with the result, although he did not expect the bill to pass successfully through the House of Representatives.

What we have on the record today, for the first time, is a Senate majority in favour of same-sex equality on superannuation, Cherry said. I expect when another appropriate opportunity comes up that Labor will not walk away from those amendments again as they have 11 times in the past.

Greens senator Bob Brown told the Star the move by the Labor party was monumental.

Labor has been congratulated by both the Democrats and the Greens -¦ this is something that [the Democrats] have fought for, along with the Greens, for more than a decade now. It’s a very historic moment in the Senate, Brown said.

Further amendments are planned to be moved today. The Democrats and the Greens will put forward further amendments aimed at stemming discrimination in superannuation within the public sector and the military. Both Cherry and Brown said they expected these amendments would pass successfully in the Senate.

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