Prime Minister John Howard has agreed to look into removing discrimination against same-sex couples from some areas of federal law, the Sydney Star Observer reports this week. The SSO says:

It is believed Howard asked the four Liberal MPs pushing for the law reform – Warren Entsch, Malcolm Turnbull, Peter Lindsay and Greg Hunt – to present him with a list of key areas they wanted changed.

David Scamell, spokesperson for the NSW Gay and Lesbian Rights Lobby, and Rodney Croome, spokesperson for Australian Coalition for Equality, met with Entsch, Lindsay and Hunt in Canberra on Monday to give their opinions on the areas of greatest importance.

Scamell told Sydney Star Observer the main priorities were recognising same-sex couples in public sector superannuation, Medicare and veterans entitlements.

The SSO suggests that such prominent figures as Philip Ruddock and Peter Costello support the changes.

Jim Wallace of the Australian Christian Lobby has had an odd influence on the debate. He has stated in his organisation’s newsletter that equal rights are fair, while opposing same-sex unions.

Rodney Croome has more on the meeting – and the Government’s possible political motivation – on his blog:

Liberal Party polling and focus-group testing has indicated that within some key demographics including young people and aspirational suburban women “treating gay couples fairly” has, for the first time, popped up as a concern.

It seems the Prime Minister isn’t the only person who’s being educated.

Indeed, this may also explain the Prime Minister’s anxiousness to distance himself from the faction wars within his own home division of the Liberal Party.

“I am a conservative and unashamedly so on certain issues, and liberal on others, and that is the natural position of the Liberal Party,” the SMH quotes him as saying today.

Peter Fray

Fetch your first 12 weeks for $12

Here at Crikey, we saw a mighty surge in subscribers throughout 2020. Your support has been nothing short of amazing — we couldn’t have got through this year like no other without you, our readers.

If you haven’t joined us yet, fetch your first 12 weeks for $12 and start 2021 with the journalism you need to navigate whatever lies ahead.

Peter Fray
Editor-in-chief of Crikey

JOIN NOW