Is Attorney-General Philip Ruddock confused about his s-xuality? One of Malcolm Turnbull’s new constituents points out the subtle way in which Ruddock modified his stock-standard same-s-x relationship line between a letter to him dated 13 April and a letter to Jim Wallace of the Australian Christian Lobby of 23 May.

The first states:

The Government does not believe that same-s-x relationships have the same character as marriages and therefore considers that they should not be given the same legal and community status as marriage.

The second says:

The Government does not believe that same-s-x relationships have the same legal character as marriages and therefore considers that they should not be given the same legal status as marriage.

Is this a subtle shift in Government policy? Has Ruddock now conceded that same-s-x relationships do have the same “character” as marriages but not the same “legal character” as marriages? Are same-s-x couples about to receive an upgraded “community status” but not an upgraded “legal status”? Watch this space.

Meanwhile, Democrats finance spokesman Andrew Murray says the true cost of funding federal public sector superannuation for same s-x and interdependent couples has been winkled out of Government.

Despite strong support from many Liberals, and from across the political spectrum, the Government has refused to allow for the extension of death benefits to interdependent relationships and same sex couples.

“The cost is actuarially assessed at an estimated $2 billion increase to unfunded superannuation liabilities, well less than 2% of the total public sector unfunded superannuation liabilities,” Murray says. “This cost splits 50/50 same sex couples and interdependent relationships, or $1 billion each.

“That is for the total unfunded superannuation liability stretching decades hence, but the estimated annual budget or cash cost is only around $10 million.”

He adds “$10 million to achieve equity for same sex couples and interdependent relationships is a trifle in a budget Australia’s size. This shameful discrimination must end.”

Peter Fray

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Peter Fray
Editor-in-chief of Crikey

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