Reform in New Zealand highlights situation in Aus.
NZ Reform embarrasses Australian call on ALP to follow NZ Labour's lead
Australian gay activists say the passage of civil union legislation for same-sex couples through the New Zealand Parliament this afternoon, highlights Australia's backwardness on lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender rights, and they have called on the Australian Labor Party to support civil unions.

Equal Rights Network spokespeople, Rodney Croome and Jen Van Achteren, said that New Zealand's reform focuses attention on the fact that there is virtually no recognition of same-sex couples in Australian national law.

"At a national level Australia has arguably the worst LGBT rights record of any western country besides the United States", Mr Croome said.

"Reform in New Zealand highlights the disadvantages Australian same-sex couples still suffer in areas like superannuation, taxation, social security and employment entitlements."

Ms Van Achteren said that the Australian Labor Party must follow the lead of its New Zealand and British counterparts in supporting civil unions.

"Labor support for civil unions would not only bolster the chances of reform, it would also heal the rifts between the LGBT community and Labor over the latter's support for the Government's pre-election same-sex marriage ban."

All Australian states and territories except South Australia legally recognise same-sex relationships.

Since Jan 1st this year Tasmania has a partnership registry equivalent to the newly enacted, New Zealand civil union scheme.

For more information contact Rodney Croome on 0409 010 668 or Jen Van Achteren on 0401 054 003.

The Equal Rights Network is a coalition of Australian state and territory-based lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender human rights organisations.

Equal Rights Network
ANZAPI (Australia, New Zealand, Pacific Islands)