Australia’s first openly gay federal cabinet member has opened the door to a sexuality discrimination bill as well as anti-discrimination protections for couples in civil unions and registered relationships.

Preventing discrimination against unmarried couples could be raised as part of a future sexuality discrimination act, Senator Penny Wong told the Greens last week, acting as the Attorney-General’s upper house representative.

The Greens have proposed an amendment to the Sex Discrimination Act to remove all discrimination against any form of relationship, following the current equality reforms’ use of an itemised list of relationship types.

Any such amendment would need careful consideration, and the government will carefully consider this issue in the context of the broader review of the Sex Discrimination Act that is being undertaken by the legal and constitutional affairs committee, Wong told the Senate.

Alternatively, the government may consider this issue in the context of any consideration for a sexuality discrimination bill.

Wong’s open-ended reply was in contrast to the Government’s solid opposition to the Greens’ other proposals such as marriage and recognition of overseas registered relationships.

However exemptions for governments would probably be necessary, she said, as there remains widespread discrimination in statutory instruments.

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