The majority voted against a motion moved by Senators Andrew Bartlett and Kerry Nettle, which means that it was unsuccessful.
The motion would have amended earlier motion no. 1 introduced by Liberal Senator Chris Ellison, which was:
(1) That: (a) the Same-Sex Relationships (Equal Treatment in Commonwealth Laws—Superannuation) Bill 2008 be referred to the Legal and Constitutional Affairs Committee for inquiry and report; and (b) any related bill or bills that may be introduced to give effect to the recommendations of the Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission’s report Same Sex: Same Entitlements, dated May 2007, also be referred to the Legal and Constitutional Affairs Committee for inquiry and report together with the following matters: (i) the definition of ‘couple relationship’, (ii) empirical evidence from the states concerning the existence, recognition and relative numbers of interdependent relationships, other than de facto (whether heterosexual or same-sex) and marital relationships, (iii) whether the definition of ‘couple relationship’ should be amended to incorporate other interdependent relationships and, if so, whether the definitions should be broadened to include those relationships or whether a separate definition is required, (iv) the fiscal implications of the statutory recognition of other interdependent relationships for superannuation and taxation purposes, (v) the definitions of ‘child’ and ‘child of a couple relationship’, (vi) the legal and fiscal implications of the definitions referred to in (v), particularly as they relate to the rights, obligations and liabilities of co-parents (i.e., the parent in a couple relationship that does not have a biological connection to a child of that relationship), and (vii) all other matters considered necessary by the committee.
(2) That the committee is not to conclude its consideration of the matter contained in subparagraph (1)(a) until it has concluded its consideration of the matters in subparagraph (1)(b).
(3) That the committee must hear evidence, inter alia, from: (a) the Attorney-General’s Department; (b) the Department of Finance and Deregulation; (c) the Relationship Registries of Tasmania, Victoria and the Australian Capital Territory; (d) the Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission; and (e) the Law Council of Australia (Family Law Section).
Senator Bartlett and Senator Nettle's unsuccessful motion was the following:(Read Senator Bartlett's explanation of their motion here. )
(1) At the end of subparagraph (1)(a), add “by June 24, 2008”.
(2) Omit paragraph (2).
Background to the bill
The Same-Sex Relationships (Equal Treatment in Commonwealth Laws—Superannuation) Bill 2008 is part of a wider reform that seeks to end discriminatory treatment of same-sex couples under Commonwealth laws. It was introduced in response to the Same Sex: Same Entitlements report by the Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission ('HREOC').(Read more about the bill in its bills digest (304 KB). )
The bill amends fourteen Acts in relation to Commonwealth superannuation and pension schemes to ensure that same-sex partners and their children are able to access reversionary superannuation benefits upon the death of a scheme member and in related taxation treatment of superannuation benefits.(Read more about the bill, including its explanatory memorandum, here.)