Outgoing Queensland Liberal MP Warren Entsch will present a petition signed by more than 25,000 people calling for an end to discrimination against same-s-x couples to the Prime Minister today.

The petition has been organised by activist group GetUp.

Entsch says the response to the petition shows there is strong support in the community for an end to discrimination against same-s-x couples.

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“It shows that support for removal of financial and legal discrimination is very significant and I’ll be talking to the PM,” he said.

In June, a Human Rights and Equal Opportunity report found same-s-x couples are denied basic financial entitlements, tax concessions and superannuation benefits available to other couples.

Entsch told Crikey this morning the HREOC report offers “a fairly simple way forward”.

He is hopeful the Prime Minister can be persuaded to implement the recommendations in the report.

“He already says he doesn’t support discrimination and the HREOC report shows there’s a way forward,” Entsch said yesterday.

Entsch has also taken the matter to Attorney-General Philip Ruddock and Finance Minister Nick Minchin.

There is mounting speculation that the Parliament will only sit for three more full weeks before the election, and Entsch says he will continue to press for changes to discriminatory laws.

“I have raised this issue at every party room meeting this year,” he says.

And he is hopeful of seeing movement on the issue before the poll.

The news comes amidst strong focus on the power of the gay vote in determining the election outcome in the inner-Sydney seat of Wentworth.

“The new boundaries mean Wentworth now vies with Sydney in having the highest number of gays,” a report by Labor redistributions expert Shane Easson quoted in the current Sydney Star Observer says.

Easson expects the seat will shift further into Surry Hills in the next redistribution, making the gay vote even more significant.

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Peter Fray
Peter Fray
Editor-in-chief of Crikey
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