Relationships Amendment Bill 2015

Written on the 11 December 2015


10 December 2015


Second reading 


GEORGIE CROZIER (LIB - Southern Metropolitan)

I am pleased to rise to make a short contribution to the debate on the Relationships Amendment Bill 2015.

As others have said, this is a fairly straightforward piece of legislation that we are debating in the house this afternoon which amends the Relationships Act 2008 to allow couples, either heterosexual or same-sex, to register their domestic relationship in Victoria. That will apply even if only one partner lives in Victoria, and Ms Patten, who spoke of her personal situation, highlighted very clearly the issues with long-distance relationships. This bill will enable somebody in a position similar to that of Ms Patten and her partner to have their relationship recognised formally. I am pleased that that will now be possible.

The second part of the bill allows for the registration of certain domestic relationships which have already been registered in other local and international jurisdictions. They will be recognised as if they were registered domestic relationships here in Victoria. Anyone living in international jurisdictions, such as the UK or New Zealand, can have their relationship formally recognised.

As other members have said, the coalition has a free vote on this piece of legislation, and I have clearly indicated my support for the bill. It provides some practical elements that enable relationships in 2015 to be recognised more formally and, importantly, to be registered. As we know, relationships come in various forms, and this legislation recognises relationships that have barriers because of where the partners live. The bill removes those barriers and makes it much easier when it comes to considering some of the more complexities in a relationship, should they come to the fore when dealing with, for example, legal or medical issues. This bill enables a formal relationship to be recognised and partners to be able to work through various considerations, should they need to.

As I said, this bill is straightforward. Clause 5 amends the Relationships Act 2008 to allow two persons to register a domestic relationship if one of them lives in Victoria. Clause 6 inserts new chapter 2A into the Relationships Act 2008 to provide automatic registration for a relationship registered in another jurisdiction. As I said, that clause pertains to cases where one partner might reside in an international jurisdiction.

As others have also indicated, I note that Ms Pennicuik has moved an amendment to this bill, and although I was not in the house to hear her reasons for the amendment I understand that she has had a longstanding commitment to including a formal ceremonial element in the Relationships Act, and I do not see any issue with the proposition Ms Pennicuik has put forward. If a relationship is formally recognised, which is what this legislation provides for, I do not see any issue with providing for the ability to conduct a ceremony in connection with the registration. I know others will have a different view in relation to this particular aspect of the bill, but I simply think that if two people are in a relationship and they respect, care for and love one another, that should be able to be celebrated in the way they see fit.

With those words, I support the bill and indicate my support for Ms Pennicuik's amendment.

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