Legislative Council 10 September 2019
Ms FORREST question to LEADER of the GOVERNMENT in the LEGISLATIVE COUNCIL
Under the Burial and Cremation Act 2002, in establishing a burial ground -
(1) As described in section 3B of this act, does giving priority to the eldest child over and above a person in a registered relationship or partner mean that the eldest child can override a legally recognised partner in the making of funeral arrangements or on other after-death decisions?
(2) Does the clause allowing senior next of kin to make all decisions relating to the disposal of human remains mean that the senior next of kin can override the executor who currently has that responsibility?
Mr President, I thank the member for Murchison for her questions.
(1) The bill does not give priority to the eldest child over and above a person in a registered relationship. The definition of 'senior next of kin' first recognises a spouse, which includes a person in a significant relationship within the meaning of the Relationships Act 2003. The next person listed is the deceased's eldest available child over the age of 18. Subsection (c) of the definition then mentions a person who had a caring relationship, subject to a deed of relationship registered under part 2 of that act. This order is reflected under the current act and previously in the regulations prior to the most recent amendments to the act.
(2) The effect of this provision is under further consideration and the final bill will clarify this issue.