Govt MPs Don't Understand Impact Of Bill
21 November 2000
Today's debate on the Government's Property (Relationships) Bill demonstrated that even Government members don't know what the Bill will do, National Justice spokesman Tony Ryall said today.
"Labour's Chris Carter told Parliament that no one has to be covered by the Bill. He said 'They can opt out'.
"What Mr Carter doesn't appreciate is that a spouse or partner can only opt-out with the agreement of their spouse or partner.
"This problem was highlighted by a woman who wrote to the Attorney General earlier this year. After her marriage broke up she scrimped and saved to buy the family home. A few years later a new partner moved into her home. He pays no bills and does little around the house.
"She asked him to sign an opt-out agreement, so she could protect her home for her children.
"He said no.
"The woman wrote to Ms Wilson. The Attorney General replied - ask again later!
"This Bill will lead to many de facto relationships breaking down. It will trample on people who have made an explicit decision not to be covered by the matrimonial property laws," Mr Ryall said.