Major changes to many areas of the law have been made giving same sex couples the same rights as heterosexual couples.
Why were the reforms needed?
Following the Australian Human Rights Commission’s report, Same-Sex: Same Entitlements, and an audit of Commonwealth legislation, the Australian Government recognised that same sex couples were discriminated against in many areas of law The reforms have addressed this.
What are the reforms?
In total, 84 amendments have been made to Commonwealth laws. Areas affected include social security, taxation, Medicare, veteran’s affairs, worker’s compensation, educational assistance, superannuation, aged care, immigration, citizenship, family law and child support.
Major reforms include access to the same tax concessions available to married and heterosexual de facto couples; entitlements to child support; access to Medicare and PBS safety nets and recognition by Centrelink for social security and family assistance payments.
There have also been amendments to the superannuation laws so that death benefits can be conferred upon same sex partners and the children of same sex relationships.
What do the reforms mean?
These reforms mean that same sex couples and their children are no longer discriminated against as they were under the previous laws. Same sex couples now have the same entitlements and obligations as heterosexual couples.