Without federal anti-discrimination laws, same-sex couples may still be subject to unfair treatment by private superannuation companies.

For 18 months, Peter Bartholomew has been fighting Mercer Super for access to his partner’s death benefits, as a company trustee weighs up the worth of Bartholomew’s 16-year relationship.

My partner left all of his super and insurances to me in his will but with all the threats and lawyers I still haven’t received a response from the company, as to what’s happening. So much for equality, because it really isn’t happening in regards to super, Bartholomew told Sydney Star Observer.

The super company has declined to give me any reasons as to why they haven’t paid it yet. They’ve basically said it’s up to the trustee who gets the super. He hasn’t made any decisions yet and is still assessing my partner’s mother’s claim, because he says there are no binding nominations even though he left it to me in his will … which is something I just don’t understand.

Sydney Star Observer contacted Mercer Super to obtain the company’s policies on same-sex claims, but it did not respond in time for print.

I’m left now with rent and bills to pay which I can’t afford because Paul was the main breadwinner. This is a matter of survival for me. Paul left his superannuation to me in the event of anything happening so I could get on with my life and survive, Bartholomew, who is currently on a pension, said.

Some form of anti-discrimination legislation would’ve definitely helped me. I feel that if it was a wife applying for her husband’s super there wouldn’t be the same issue. I feel like no one has even recognised my relationship.

Greens senators Bob Brown and Sarah Hanson-Young have continued to push for further super protections, after equality was won for Commonwealth Government employees.

Bartholomew has continued to fight. He wrote to HREOC three weeks ago and to his local member, Malcolm Turnbull. He is awaiting a response.

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