The second attempt by the ACT Government to legalise same-s-x unions has failed before even being debated with Federal Attorney General Philip Ruddock quashing it on the grounds that it would “be likely to undermine the institution of marriage.”

The territory Attorney-General, Simon Corbell, sent his Civil Partnerships Bill to Mr Ruddock some months ago for comment and received a reply yesterday that ruled out even talking about the subject. In his letter Mr Ruddock noted that while changes had been made, there remained significant similarities between the Civil Partnerships Bill and the disallowed Civil Unions Act 2006 (ACT). “The revised bill has not removed the concerns that the Commonwealth had about the Civil Unions Act,” Mr Ruddock said. The Commonwealth would recommend that the Governor-General disallow the Bill.

While the predictable protests of the ACT Government will have no impact on federal politics generally, the decision will cause further anxiety within the ranks of the liberal Liberals in the big house on the hill. If the fate of the ACT bill was actually left to a vote in the federal Parliament there is every chance that it would survive, which is why Ruddock and the Prime Minister choose simply to get the Governor-General to veto it.

Peter Fray

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Peter Fray
Editor-in-chief of Crikey