The GLRL would like to congratulate Malcolm Turnbull on his ascension to leader of the Federal Liberal Party. Turnbull has always indicated his support for the rights of gays and lesbians in his electorate, as well as throughout the nation.

Over the past few years, we have met with him on a number of occasions to articulate the reform needed at a federal level to provide equality for our community. On these occasions, he has always given us a warm reception and indicated his commitment to de facto equality. So we congratulate him, and we call on the Liberal Party under its new leadership to allow the swift passage of the long-fought-for legislation which would provide just that -“ full de facto equality for our community.

The GLRL has spent the last week putting together a submission to the Inquiry into the Same-Sex Relationships (Equal Treatment in Commonwealth Laws -“ General Law Reform) Bill 2008. This landmark bill seeks to amend 68 pieces of federal legislation that discriminate against same-sex couples and their children on the basis of sexuality. Overall, the bill represents an historic and comprehensive approach to providing practical equality for our community and reflects the Federal Government’s commitment to removing the day-to-day discrimination our community experiences.

Under Dr Nelson’s leadership, the Liberal Party sought to block aspects of the Bill that allow same-sex couples to be recognised as de facto couples, and instead it proposed a new category of interdependent to recognise our relationships. We, along with the Australian Human Rights Commission and many other key organisations, have articulated on numerous occasions the pitfalls of such an approach, and have also included this in our submission to the Inquiry.

It is of vital importance that the Coalition supports the Government’s Bill, which will recognise our relationships as truly equal. In our submission we also restated our call to the Government to follow these reforms with a comprehensive community education campaign to ensure that our community is prepared for the financial and legal changes that await them.

So please, Mr Turnbull, in the spirit of providing opportunities and fairness for all, join us in a new age of equality and throw the Coalition’s full support behind these long-awaited reforms.

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