Same-Sex Relationships (Equal Treatment in Commonwealth Laws—General Law Reform) Act 2008

The Same-Sex Relationships (Equal Treatment in Commonwealth Laws—General Law Reform) Act 2008 received Royal Assent on 9 December 2008. It removes discrimination against same-sex couples and their dependent children from a wide range of Commonwealth laws and programs.

Page last updated: 24 September 2014

It recognises both de facto and registered same-sex relationships and ensures that same-sex couples and their dependent children receive the same entitlements as married and opposite-sex couples and their dependent children.

The Act changes the following health and ageing legislation:

  • Aged Care Act 1997
  • Health Insurance Act 1973
  • National Health Act 1953
  • Prohibition of Human Cloning for Reproduction Act 2002
  • Research Involving Human Embryos Act 2002

Medicare safety net

As part of the Act, the Health Insurance Act 1973 has been amended to recognise same sex relationships and allow same-sex couples and their children to register as a family for Medicare Safety Net purposes, and thereby receive the same entitlements as opposite-sex couples and their children. It is to take effect from 1 January 2009.

For further information on the administration of the Medicare Safety Nets visit theMedicare Australia website.

Other Information

For a summary of all of the changes to Commonwealth legislation and programs following passage of the Same Sex Relationships Act 2008, visit the Attorney General’s Department website.

The legislative amendments and supporting documents can be viewed at the following links:

Further information

Information on changes to the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme can be found on the Health website.

Attorney General’s Department - same sex reforms website.

Medicare Australia – Medicare safety net site.

The Same-Sex Relationships (Equal Treatment in Commonwealth Laws—General Law Reform) Bill 2008 at the Commonwealth of Australia Law site.

The Explanatory Memorandum at the Commonwealth of Australia Law site:

The Supplementary Explanatory Memorandum at the Parliament of Australia site.

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