The Rudd Government doesn’t plan to introduce any further discrimination against same-sex couples in its first major initiative with financial benefits.
But gay rights advocates worry the new first home buyer’s scheme could use existing discriminatory relationship definitions.
The First Home Saver Account announced by Housing Minister Tanya Plibersek and Treasurer Wayne Swan on Monday gives tax breaks to individuals saving for a first deposit, but it must be held for a minimum of four years.
The facts sheet issued before the election said couples benefit further as only one partner needs to have held an account for four years before both can place a joint deposit.
Australian Coalition for Equality spokesman Rod Swift questioned how the scheme would define a couple for those benefits.
At the moment, tax law fails to recognise same-sex partners and we are keen to know if the proposed home buyer tax breaks will be any different, Swift said.
But a spokesman for Swan denied the scheme contained any benefit to couples.
There’s no benefit or detriment to being in a relationship. Regardless of whether you’re with your partner or not, they’ll be administered on an individual basis, the spokesman said.