Wednesday 29 September 2010

Hansard of the Legislative Council


Mr FINCH (Rosevears) - Madam President, I know we are singing from the same hymn book because the member for Western Tiers took the same quote from the second reading speech that I was going to include in my presentation.  But I do not see any need for any fuss over this bill.  It is a logical addition to the Tasmanian Relationships Act.  It will affect only a tiny number of people coming to live in Tasmania each year.  As the bill's title suggests it involves the recognition of registered relationships.  It does not involve the recognition of same-sex marriages as pointed out by the member for Western Tiers.


Without this legislation, same-sex couples, say with a relationship recognised in the United Kingdom, would have to register again if they came to Tasmania.  That involves registering at Service Tasmania for a cost of about $170.  Once approved they receive a certificate of proof of the deed of relationship which, by the way, is recognised in certain other States and countries, such as New Zealand and the UK.


Like my fellow members, Madam President, I have had quite a bit of lobbying on this bill from, in fact, both sides - from family as well, which was quite interesting for me.  One submission suggested that it would be ridiculous if a married couple had to get married again every time they moved State or country, so that would be farcical.  Another points out that Tasmanian registration of a same-sex couple is recognised in the UK and says it is only fair that we should recognise UK registration.


This bill does not mean that all interstate or overseas registered relationships will necessarily be recognised in Tasmania.  That was the quote that I was going to take from the second reading speech about the effect of recognition under Tasmanian law, but the other bit, too, was:


'Realistically recognition would only become relevant if the couple actually came to live in Tasmania.  Parties whose relationship is recognised in Tasmania will be able to simply produce their interstate or overseas registration papers when needed, to provide evidence of their relationship.'


As I pointed out earlier, Madam President, reciprocal registration - reciprocity - would involve only a tiny minority of visitors.  Like the majority of those in the lower House, I have no problem with this bill.