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Civil union alternative offered up

Civil union alternative offered up

National Party Justice spokesman Richard Worth is launching an 11th-hour bid to change the controversial Civil Union Bill by introducing an amendment called the Civil Relationships Bill.

“The new bill says that any two people can register a ‘civil relationship’, which will recognise their relationship in law. Once registered, parties to a civil relationship are issued with a certificate which will provide certainty in key areas such as next-of-kin rights,” says Mr Worth.

“In contrast to civil unions, a civil relationship will be available to any two people wishing to register their relationship (including family members). They will then be able to enjoy the protection and benefits that the accompanying Relationships (Statutory References) Bill may provide.

“The Civil Relationships Bill is more inclusive and recognises that there is a diversity of relationships, and that many do wish to formally register their relationship to ensure that they are recognised and protected in law.”

Mr Worth says a common example is two elderly sisters who live together and are financially dependent on each other but are currently unable to register their relationship. The Civil Union Bill excludes people in this type of relationship and is inappropriate for many other similar situations.

There are no ceremonial procedures for entry to or exit from a civil relationship to avoid any parallel or comparison with marriage.

“After listening to hundreds of submissions, I am familiar with the concerns of both sides of the argument and am confident that this alternative will address concerns levelled at the Civil Union Bill,” says Mr Worth.

His bill also provides for a binding referendum on the issue.

“This is a practical, effective and proactive solution to a contentious issue,” Mr Worth says.

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