Queensland to vote on civil unions next week
BRISBANE: Queensland’s Parliament will hold a vote next week on whether to introduce civil unions legislation after a parliamentary committee recommended that Deputy Premier Andrew Fraser’s private member’s bill be passed.
The nine-member legal affairs committee tabled its report on the Civil Partnerships Bill last night after having held recent public hearings to hear from those for and against the legislation.
The committee’s six Government MPs, including chair Dean Wells, endorsed the law however Opposition MPs, John-Paul Langbroek and Jarrod Bleijie, and Independent Maryborough MP Chris Foley issued dissenting opinions, with Foley arguing his “belief that children are better of in a stable loving “Traditional” family unit than they are in a stable loving “Same sex” family unit”.
In rejecting claims by the likes of the Australian Christian Lobby and other church organisations, Wells said that the proposed legislation would benefit not harm children and their families.
“The reality is that some at least of the many thousands of children across Queensland whose parents are not married, and are not going to be, would be better off if their parents had the option of entering a civil partnership,” Wells said.
Fraser welcomed the committee’s report while also calling on Liberal National Party (LNP) leader, Campbell Newman, to also allow a conscience vote for his party colleagues.
“Next week, Queensland MPs will have the opportunity to vote with their conscience on this matter.
“My belief is that when it comes to legislative matters regarding questions of fundamental human rights, it is the right and the duty of individual MPs to vote with their own conscience,” Fraser said.
“That's what we are elected to do, that's what the Labor Members of Parliament will do, and that's what the elected Members of the LNP should do.”
Leading Queensland law expert, Dr Alan Berman, from the University of Newcastle, told SX that the proposed civil partnership scheme was a good move for the state.
“I applaud the Deputy Premier, Andrew Fraser … for having the courage to bring a private members Bill to Parliament to legalise same-sex civil unions,” he said.
Next week will be the last sitting week of Queensland’s Parliament, with an election due early next year as well.