14 September 2007 - PM says 'no' as Costello flies under the radar
The Gay and Lesbian Rights Lobby (GLRL) is disappointed with Prime Minister John Howard's decision to reject further reforms that would bring equal treatment to same-sex couples. The Prime Minister's decision, reported in The Australian, came following Cabinet's consideration of the recommendations in HREOC's National Inquiry in Discrimination Against People in Same-sex Relationships.
"The Prime Minister's decision is extremely disappointing and out of touch with his colleagues and the Australian public. Recent meetings between the Gay and Lesbian Rights Lobby and several Coalition MPs highlighted considerable support for change within Cabinet. Prime Minister John Howard's attitude seems to be a major obstacle in changing the Coalition's policy. He is increasingly becoming a pariah in his own party on this issue," said GLRL spokesperson, Ghassan Kassisieh.
The decision follows an earlier announcement by the Prime Minister of his intention to handover to Treasurer Peter Costello at some point during the next term if he is re-elected at the upcoming federal election.
"The GLBT community needs to put pressure on Peter Costello to be upfront about his position on same-sex equality. If Howard is re-elected and Costello becomes Prime Minister, our community deserves to know its chance of reform under a Costello-led Coalition. When the opposition is promising to implement comprehensive de facto reforms across 58 laws, silence from the Treasurer is simply not good enough," Kassisieh added.
The Gay and Lesbian Rights Lobby will again request a meeting with Treasurer Peter Costello before the election. The Treasurer has politely declined two requests we have made over the last 2 years.
The Coalition deadlock on same-sex reform is likely to put pressure on key government ministers Malcolm Turnbull and Joe Hockey who have high proportions of same-sex couples living in their electorates.