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Statutes Amendment (Gender Identity and Equity) Bill

Second Reading Adjourned debate on second reading (Continued from 14 April 2016)

The Hon. J.A. DARLEY ( 15:50 :50 ): I rise to speak very briefly on the Statutes Amendment (Gender Identity and Equity) Bill 2016 which, if passed, will implement the majority of the South Australian Law Reform Institute's recommendations dealing with discrimination on the grounds of sexual orientation, gender, gender identity and intersex status, and characterised as requiring immediate action by the government. I note that the most contentious aspect of the bill in its original form related to changes to terminology concerning pregnant women. I understand the concerns around those changes were addressed in the lower house and are therefore no longer an issue. This is a welcome development.

In relation to the bill as it stands now, I am inclined to support the views of the Deputy Leader of the Opposition, Ms Vickie Chapman MP, in the other place who, during her contribution to this debate, stated that she would be supporting the bill for the very reason that it does not attract a new set of entitlements or obligations, rather it removes words that have the effect of excluding others, in this case minorities. I agree that, on that basis, this bill ought to be supported.

Indeed, the progression of the bill this week would be even more appropriate given that just a few days ago communities around the world celebrated International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia. Although not related, this bill also serves as a timely reminder for some other changes that the government is committed to concerning discrimination on our statute book.

Honourable members may recall media reports earlier this year regarding the tragic death of British man, Mr David Bulmer-Rizzi, who was honeymooning in Australia with his husband, Mr Marco Bulmer-Rizzi. David and Marco married in London last year. As members would be aware, same‑sex marriages were legalised in the UK in 2014, so this was a legally recognised marriage. According to an article in The Advertiser, the couple were visiting Adelaide when tragedy struck and David lost his life after a fall down a staircase. Unfortunately, South Australian authorities failed to recognise Marco and David's marriage and, as such, Marco was effectively shut out of every decision pertaining to and following his husband's death.

To add insult to injury, the death certificate issued by the South Australian authorities failed to list Marco as David's husband. While same-sex marriages remain illegal in Australia, states are able to amend their laws to ensure that same-sex marriages performed overseas are recognised and to allow partners to act as next of kin. Indeed, at least some of our eastern state neighbours have amended their laws to reflect this position.

It is unfortunate and disconcerting that we were not in a position to afford David and Marco the respect they deserved when this devastating incident occurred. I remain deeply sorry that Marco had to endure further pain following the death of his husband because of outdated and archaic laws that had not kept up with societal changes. The Premier has indicated publicly and to Marco personally that examples of senseless discrimination such as this would be addressed through legislative amendments, and I for one look forward to the speedy consideration of such further reforms. With those few words, I support the second reading of the bill.