Queensland Law Society

Queensland legislation impacted by the Civil Partnerships Act

The Civil Partnerships Act 2011 (“the Act”) was passed by the Queensland Parliament in late 2011. The Act allows a couple, regardless of sex, to enter into a civil partnership, subject to eligibility criteria.

Importantly, the Act amends other areas of law including (but not limited to) property law, taxation, personal injuries, guardianship matters, succession law and the status of children. This headline summarises the amendments made to these areas of law as a result of the Act.

Starting dates

The amendments to the other areas of law below take place:

  • from 23 February 2012[1] for couples who have had their union registered in accordance with:
    • Relationships Register Act 2010 (NSW);
    • Relationships Act 2008 (VIC);
    • Relationships Act 2003 (TAS);
    • Civil Partnerships Act 2008 (ACT); and
  • from 5 March 2012[2] for Queensland couples who have their civil partnership registered in Queensland.

Areas of law

General

  • All references to “spouse” in Queensland legislation refers to de facto partner and civil partner (s36 Acts Interpretation Act).

Property law

  • For payment of duties in Queensland, a couple who is in a civil partnership is eligible for an exemption of particular residences (s151 of the Duties Act 2001)
  • The payment of land tax extends to couples in a civil partnership (Schedule 4 of the Land Tax Act 2010)
  • The First Home Owner’s Grant is extended to those in a civil partnership (s9 of the First Home Owner Grant Act 2000).
  • For body corporate matters, matters under the Integrated Resort Development Act 1987 and matters under the Sanctuary Cove Resort Act 1985, a person is associated to another person if their relationship is a marriage, de facto relationship or civil partnership.

Payroll tax

  • The Payroll Tax Act 1971 applies to couples in a civil partnership. ( s74D(2) of the Payroll Tax 1971)

Personal injury matters

  • Damages for a spouse’s benefit in a wrongful death proceeding is extended to couples in a civil partnership (s23A Supreme Court Act 1995)

Guardianship matters (Guardianship and Administration Act, Powers of Attorney Act)

  • If a guardian or administrator and the adult are in a civil partnership when an appointment is made and the civil partnership is terminated, the appointment is automatically revoked
  • An attorney does not have the power for special personal matters. The Civil Partnerships Act and Guardianship and Administration Act now extends the application of a special personal matter to include the circumstance of consenting to an adult to enter or terminate a civil partnership
  • If a principal enters into an enduring power of attorney and then later enters into a civil partnership, the enduring power of attorney is revoked to the extent that it gives power to someone other than the principal’s civil partner, unless there is a contrary intention
  • The termination of a civil partnership revokes the power given to the principal’s previous civil partner

Succession law matters (Succession Law Act)

  • The definition of spouse is extended to include a civil partner and allows a civil partner (or a former civil partner) to make a Part IV (Family Provision Application) claim.
  • A former spouse includes a person who was in a civil partnership with the deceased but was terminated in accordance with the Civil Partnerships Act and the former spouse has not married or entered into another civil partnership and is entitled to receive maintenance from the deceased
  • A will is revoked by the testator entering into a civil partnership. However certain provisions providing a civil partner a power of appointment or disposition is not revoked. Further wills made in contemplation of the civil partnership will not be revoked.
  • Unless there is a contrary intention, the termination of a testator’s civil partnership or a void civil partnership will revoke a will to the extent that it provides a power of appointment or disposition to the former civil partner. However a power of appointment of a former civil partner only in favour of children that the testator and former civil partner are parents will not be revoked.

Status of children (Status of Children Act)

  • The recognition of paternity is extended to a mother and father who were in a civil partnership with each other at the time of its conception or at some subsequent time.
  • Parentage presumptions of children conceived by fertilisation procedures are extended to a mother and father who are in a civil partnership.
  • The fertilisation procedures undertaken by a woman with her female de facto partner’s consent is also extended to recognise the consent of a female civil partner.
  • The Act also recognises circumstances where a woman who has a civil partner undergoes a fertilisation procedure other than with her civil partner’s consent.

To view all the amendments in detail, please go to Part 6 of the Civil Partnerships Act.


[1]Proclamation, s33 of the Civil Partnerships Act 2011and rr2, 4 of the Civil Partnerships Regulation 2012

[2]Proclamation and ss 8,9,11,12 of the Civil Partnerships Act 2011