Like what you've read?

On Line Opinion is the only Australian site where you get all sides of the story. We don't
charge, but we need your support. Here�s how you can help.

  • Advertise

    We have a monthly audience of 70,000 and advertising packages from $200 a month.

  • Volunteer

    We always need commissioning editors and sub-editors.

  • Contribute

    Got something to say? Submit an essay.

 The National Forum   Donate   Your Account   On Line Opinion   Forum   Blogs   Polling   About   
On Line Opinion logo ON LINE OPINION - Australia's e-journal of social and political debate


On Line Opinion is a not-for-profit publication and relies on the generosity of its sponsors, editors and contributors. If you would like to help, contact us.


RSS 2.0

The right to belong

By Rodney Croome - posted Monday, 6 July 2009

In Australia, the 40th anniversary of the New York street protests which gave birth to the contemporary gay rights movement passed almost unnoticed.

While millions marched in North America and Europe to commemorate a turning point in global social history, the thoughts of most Australians didn’t get gayer than Bruno on Rove.

This means neither that Australians are more antagonistic to gay equality, nor that we are more accepting. It just means winter isn’t the time to parade outdoors in skimpy clothes.


But winter is an excellent time to reflect on who we are and where we’re headed.

The question most commonly prompted by Stonewall is: how far has the gay movement come, and how far has it yet to go? Usually, the answer has more to do with the politics of the person answering the question than objective reality.

But Australia is at such a clear-cut moment in its gay history, that we can provide something approaching a definitive answer.

Last year the Rudd Government, with the support of a majority of Coalition MPs, extended the definition of de facto partner to include same-sex partners across all those many federal laws offering spousal rights and responsibilities, including those dealing with parenting and family.

The parallel recognition of same-sex de factos had already occurred in every state and territory. It had been advocated federally for 15 years but was long-delayed by the indifference of John Howard.

In short, last year’s reform was the definitive end of a long-term movement for practical benefits and entitlements.


But as is so often the case, every movement for reform contains within it the seeds of what will come next.

The one federal law not amended by the Rudd Government was the Marriage Act.

Both major parties continue to vehemently oppose equality in marriage for same-sex partners.

  1. Pages:
  2. Page 1
  3. 2
  4. All

The Senate Legal and Constitutional Affairs Committee is currently conducting an inquiry into same-sex marriage. To make a submission visit
For background information visit

Discuss in our Forums

See what other readers are saying about this article!

Click here to read & post comments.

12 posts so far.

Share this:
reddit this reddit thisbookmark with Del.icio.usdigg thisseed newsvineSeed NewsvineStumbleUpon StumbleUponsubmit to propellerkwoff it

About the Author

Rodney Croome is a spokesperson for Equality Tasmania and national advocacy group, just.equal. He who was made a Member of the Order of Australia in 2003 for his LGBTI advocacy.

Other articles by this Author

All articles by Rodney Croome

Creative Commons LicenseThis work is licensed under a Creative Commons License.

Article Tools
Comment 12 comments
Print Printable version
Subscribe Subscribe
Email Email a friend

About Us Search Discuss Feedback Legals Privacy