I bumped into a journalist I knew in the coffee queue at Parliament House, and he asked what I was up to these days. I told him I was looking at the environment law reforms. “Oh yeah, those,” he said confidently, then thought about it for a while before asking: “So, what’s the deal with that?”
Indeed. Most of us know something is happening with our national environment laws, but not exactly what, and if or how it will affect us. It’s quite complex, and I could talk about it for days.
But I don’t have days, I have a flat white coming in three So for all of you in the virtual coffee queue out there, here’s my three-minute, coffee-queue guide to the environment law reforms. They’re a niche interest. They only matter to you if you care about The Great Barrier Reef, native forests, The Tarkine, The Kimberley or any environmentally significant place in Australia, koalas, tassie devils or any species facing extinction, the multi-billion dollar eco-tourism industry or long-term, sustainable jobs, clean air, water or food.
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Same-sex parents are no different than other parents in wanting the very best for their children.
We know that removing legislative inequality is a very significant step in lessening the discrimination and social exclusion experienced by these parents and their children. All children, irrespective of the family units into which they are born or live, deserve the full protection of the law.
That’s why I’m proud to have chaired a year-long Social Development Committee Inquiry into same sex parenting for the South Australian Parliament, and why I’m prouder still of the wide-ranging reforms aimed at providing greater legal protection for children of same-sex parents recommended to Parliament yesterday.
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The planned rollback of the controversial Shared Parenting Law is not an attack on men’s rights. Nor is it a victory for the women’s movement.
It is a sensible response to the plight of children like Darcey Freeman, who was allegedly thrown from the Westgate Bridge in Melbourne. Rather than getting into the he said/she said of this prickly debate, this is the story of one man – a war veteran - who believes his grandchildren are at risk.
His letter was part of a submission to Attorney-General Robert McClelland, which concludes “it is relatively rare for a court to make an order that denies a parent contact with a child, including in cases involving allegations of violence”. You can read it here:
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