Some movement - coming from the top:

The High Court judge Michael Kirby highlighted the inequity recently when he pointed out his partner of 38 years, Johan van Vloten, would have no access to Justice Kirby's pension if the judge died before him.

Under current law, if a retired judge in a heterosexual relationship dies before his or her partner, the partner is entitled to 62.5 per cent of the judge's pension. But Mr van Vloten would not receive anything because he is not female.

One minister supporting the change expressed amazement there was opposition to the idea.

"There shouldn't even need to be a debate," the minister said.

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