By Andrew M.Potts

A political stoush between the Greens and the ACT’s Labor Government over civil unions may have been averted following talks between the parties.
On October 9, ABC News reported the Greens were concerned Labor amendments to its Civil Partnerships Amendment Bill would water down the ceremonial aspects of the law and give the Commonwealth an excuse to reject it.
ACT Greens leader Shane Rattenbury told the ABC, “We are concerned that the Labor Party’s adding a soft option into this legislation.”
ACT Attorney-General Simon Corbell accused the Greens of politicking, and said Labor was not watering down the bill, but “adding extra bits to it”.
Since entering into further discussions with the Government, Rattenbury and the Greens are now cautiously optimistic about Labor’s amendments.
“The Greens were initially concerned their amendments would move our proposal away from creating a legally recognised ceremony and simply amend the existing registry process instead. The Government has since committed to us that this is not their intent,” Rattenbury told Southern Star.
“We accept their word but reserve the right not to make a final decision until we have seen the detail of their amendments .”
Asked when he expected the Bill to go before the Legislative Assembly, Rattenbury said he expected both debate and a vote to before year’s end.
“Now that the ACT Government has agreed to support our bill it will be passed in the assembly and become law,” he said.
Once this occurs, the Federal Government has six months to use its veto to scuttle the bill.
“We will be writing to Kevin Rudd and hope to engage in a discussion with him about why the legislation should be allowed to stand,” Rattenbuiry said.

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