365gay.com is reporting (http://www.365gay.com/Newscon07/11/110707oz.htm) that the Government in Australia of John Howard - yes, Magic Bellybutton's favorite man - is now, after doing all it could do to deny rights to gays, promising some crumbs to the LGBT vote if re-elected. Why anyone would possibly believe Howard (who surely is Australia's answer to the Chimperator) is hard to understand. Here are highlights from the story:
(Sydney, Australia) Facing likely defeat at the polls the upcoming election the coalition government of Prime Minister John Howard is now looking at the LGBT vote. In a surprise move the government said that if re-elected it would give same-sex couples the same rights to pensions as married couples have. But Wednesday's announcement was greeted largely with distain as little more than an election ploy to make the government appear more moderate. Earlier this year cabinet conservatives quashed a move to introduce a bill to provide limited rights to couples and left any decision on when or if the bill would see the light day to Howard personally. (story)
The new plan would not repeal a 2004 law passed by Howard's government limiting marriage to opposite-sex couples. Nor would it give official recognition to gay couples under a registry or through civil partnerships. In February for the second time Howard's government quashed an attempt by the Australian Capital Territory to enact civil union legislation. (story) The government said that it violated the gay marriage ban. Last year after Howard's government trashed the first ACT bill the federal Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission began an investigation into inequities faced by same-sex couples. The commission held hearings across the country. (story)
Commissioners heard from dozens of gay couples in hearings across the country of how partners have been cut out of wills because they have not legal status, how children in same-sex relationships are harmed, and how federal pension law hurts one partner when the other dies. In its report to the government in June the Commission made more than 50 recommendations and urged the passing laws guaranteeing rights for same-sex couples. The opposition Labor Party, ahead in public opinion polls to win the election, already has said it would approve the commission's full report.