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Minister: Worth amendment about wrecking bill

06 December, 2004 Media Statement

Minister: Worth amendment not about improving bill but wrecking it

Associate Justice Minister David Benson-Pope says Richard Worth's amendment to the Civil Union Bill is ill conceived and appears to be simply a strategy to wreck the Civil Union Bill.

Mr Benson-Pope says the idea of recognising all and any relationship goes down a completely different track.

"It would have the effect of nullifying the purpose of the Civil Union Bill, which is about the recognition of stable, committed and loving partnerships," says Mr Benson-Pope.

"We have all along quite rightly been talking about relationships of a nature that go well beyond friendship.

"Civil unions are an option for people in de facto relationships wishing to make a formal commitment to each other and so gain social and legal recognition for their relationship.

"This idea is an attempt to deny recognition to these relationships and therefore to deny these people the dignity of that recognition."

Mr Benson-Pope noted that Mr Worth's proposal was not an original idea. The same ploy was used by junior Tory MPs who unsuccessfully tried to wreck similar legislation in the United Kingdom last month.

The Conservative leader, Michael Howard, who voted in favour of the UK's legislation, and gave his MPs a free vote on the matter, let it be known that he was not supporting the wrecking amendment.

ENDS

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