The Federal government has asked the Governor General to veto the ACT Government's Civil Unions Act.
Prime Minister Howard drew an analogy with school days to express his opposition to the concept of civil unions as conceived in the ACT assembly. "The fundamental difficulty I have with the ACT legislation is the clause which says that a civil union is different from marriage but has the same entitlements," the PM said. "That is the equivalent of saying to somebody who's passed the HSC [High School] and wants to get into a particular course, saying to them, well, you haven't got the requisite tertiary score but we are going to let you into the course anyway. It's a little bit hypocritical."
The controversial clause says:
A civil union is different to a marriage but is to be treated for all purposes under teerritory law in the same way as a a marriage.
This would provide benefits in the areas such as insurance, housing, parental rights and wills. It would not affect matters such as taxation, social security, immigration as these are Federal responsibilities.
The ACT government has said they will lobby Governor-General Michael Jeffery to ignore the Commonwealth's request to quash the law.