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Civil unions on the table, member for Warrego undecided

Danielle and Erin Mackenzie were the first couple to get a same sex civil union in Maryborough. Photo: Megan Pope / Fraser Coast Chronicle
Danielle and Erin Mackenzie were the first couple to get a same sex civil union in Maryborough. Photo: Megan Pope / Fraser Coast Chronicle Megan Pope FRA180512civil4

SAME sex civil partnerships are likely to once again become law in Queensland, with LNP politicians given a free conscience vote on the legislation.

Member for Warrego Ann Leahy reserved her decision on the issue.

On Monday the LNP party room decided to allow each member a conscience vote on a Labor government bill to reintroduce civil unions - an about-face from the Campbell Newman-led LNP government that removed civil unions.

"I'm going to wait till we get to that until we get to that final decision," Ms Leahy said.

She said she relished the opportunity a free vote grants her.

"It allows people to make decisions based on the views of their electorate."

While Warrego is one of the most conservative electorates in Queensland, she said that should not be taken as an indication of her choice.

"If you want to ask the readers (what they'd prefer) you're more than welcome."

On the other hand, she said there may not be any real need to legislate for same-sex partnerships in Queensland because the Federal Government might beat them to it.

"This legislation is extremely premature," she said.

"The problem we've got is that the public - everyone - will get a vote after the federal election [in a plebiscite planned by the Turnbull Government].

Opposition Leader Lawrence Springborg said he would oppose their reintroduction - but infrastructure shadow minister and former treasurer Tim Nicholls announced he would support the bill that is to be introduced to Queensland Parliament next week.

Mr Springborg said a conscience vote showed the LNP understood MPs had very strong personal opinions on same-sex partnerships.

"We think this is a mark of a mature political party that recognises that there are personal views," he said.

"There are a myriad of views from those that support the current laws, those that support the proposed changes by the government, those who just think it's a stunt and those that believe that we shouldn't be touching this issue until after the plebiscite."

Mr Springborg said he would be voting against the bill as he believed a federal referendum to introduce marriage equality was the best solution.

But Mr Nicholls took to Twitter to announce he will support civil unions.

"I will support the Relationships (Civil Partnerships) Bill. Let's all celebrate (and) support strong committed relationships between adults," he tweeted.

The Labor Party introduced civil unions under Premier Anna Bligh - but the Newman Government removed them.

Repealing civil unions was one of the first acts of the Newman Government - it replaced civil unions with registering relationships with Births, Deaths and Marriages.

 

Topics:  ann leahy, civil unions, conscience vote


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