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1.21.5 De facto partnerships within Defence
The ADF requires serving members to report whether or not they are married or in a de-facto partnership. There is also incentive or even necessity to do so in the shape of specific housing arrangements, allowances, welfare and social support services etc. In the case of the death of a serving member, delegates may settle some disputes in respect to contentions of a de facto spousal relationship by reference to the ADF unit's records. However, care needs to be taken in using such information because the ADF now recognises interdependent partnerships which is a much broader term than de facto partnerships.
The ADF has issued its own administrative instructions (a Defence Instruction (General)) on the matter, Delegates should refer to DI(G) PERS 53-1 contained in Part 2 of Chapter 8 of the ADF Pay and Conditions Manual at http://www.defence.gov.au/dpe/pac/
which says, in part:
2. A member seeking ADF recognition of an interdependent partnership must prove that their partner is a person who lives in a common household with the member in a bona fide, domestic, interdependent partnership, although not legally married to the member. Where the interdependent partnership is recognised by the appropriate Service authority, a member may be eligible for financial entitlements and conditions of service which apply to a member with dependants as defined in PACMAN.
4. b. Interdependent partner—is a person who, regardless of gender, is living in a common household with the member in a bona fide, domestic, interdependent partnership, although not legally married to the member. This includes those previously recognised by the ADF under the previous Defence Instruction (General) PERS 53–1—Recognition of de facto marriages, as having a de facto marriage, and also allows for those now recognised on the basis that they are in an interdependent same sex partnership.
c. Common household—means a home in which the member and their partner normally live and in which they have pooled a significant amount of their household possessions for joint use as a consequence of establishing the partnership. The term common household does not include Service provided living-in accommodation.
d .Permanent basis—is when the member and their partner normally reside under the same roof, in the same locality, in a common household. Neither the member nor their partner is to be a member of another household. Specifically, for recognition purposes, the member and their partner are not to be living in separate localities, with the couple only spending time in the common household during weekends, holidays etc .
7.Not every relationship is one that satisfies ADF requirements for a recognisable interdependent partnership. The core requirements to be met prior to the member completing both the application for recognition of an interdependent partnership in annex A and the Statutory Declaration, including the four items of documentary evidence, in annex B, are that the member and their partner:
a.have lived together on a permanent basis, in a bona fide, domestic, interdependent partnership as per subparagraphs 4.b. and 4.d. for a period of not less than 90 continuous days; and
b.have maintained a common household as per subparagraph 4.c.
8.The Approving Authority may decide to recognise an interdependent partnership for a member and their partner who have not lived together for 90 continuous days, if they consider that the couple:
a.are temporarily separated because of Service exigencies or unforeseen circumstances;
b.lived together on a permanent basis, in a bona fide, domestic, interdependent partnership in a common household immediately before the member was formally notified of the event resulting in the separation;
c.continue to maintain their common household; and
d.commenced living together in the common household at least 90 days before the application for recognition of the interdependent partnership was submitted.
9.To receive ADF recognition of an interdependent partnership, a member, in addition to meeting the requirements in paragraph 7. or 8., is required to provide the Approving Authority with:
a.a completed Application for Recognition of an Interdependent Partnership form (see annex A);
b.a completed Statutory Declaration (see annex B) to attest that an interdependent partnership has been established and is supported by the existence of four items of documentary evidence, as detailed in annex B; and
c.those four items of documentary evidence
For the purposes of paragraph 9, the four items of documentary evidence must be selected from the following alternatives:
- Evidence of a will or life assurance policy which nominates your partner as principal beneficiary, or co-beneficiary with children;
- If your partner was, before beginning to live with you, in receipt of a Commonwealth pension or benefit from which they may be excluded by law, evidence that your partner has notified the relevant agency;
- Evidence that you have enrolled your partner in a health insurance scheme, or arranged to pay the Medicare levy because of his or her changed domestic status;
- You have named your partner as a person to be notified for Service purposes;
- Statutory declarations from next of kin or close relatives stating that they have regarded you and your partner as interdependent partners for a minimum period of 90 days, and giving any other information that they may consider appropriate;
- If your partner has no independent income, evidence of regular financial support by you for a minimum period of 90 days;
- Evidence that you as a couple regularly operate, a joint account;
- If you and your partner live in rented accommodation, either evidence that both names appear on the lease, or a statement from the landlord or agent declaring that he or she rented the premises at your address to a couple (rather than two singles or one person). If the accommodation is leased through the Defence Housing Authority, evidence that you have applied for an additional person to reside with you, and the subsequent approval. These documents must show a commencement date of a minimum period of 90 days prior to the application;
- Documents to show that you and your partner have purchased or are purchasing as joint owners, valuable property;
- Evidence of a recognised partnership from other Government agencies;
- One partner has changed his or her name by deed poll, or informally calls himself or herself by the name of the other partner (as shown by any documents which refer to him or her as Mr or Mrs "X");
- A copy of a birth certificate of any children of the union;
- Evidence of any financial arrangements for sums in excess of $1000 which you and your partner may have agreed between you (eg personal loan, payment of one or other's debts, guarantor of loan);
- Evidence that you or your partner has given the other partner access to their personal bank account(s) for bill paying purposes or power of attorney during any separation. lived with me since;
- Evidence of either one household bill in joint names, or two separate household bills, one in each partner's name.
Given the differences between Defence's criteria for recognising relationships and those in the SRCA, a delegate should not assume, in the case of a serving member, that if the relationship is recognised by the ADF for allowance and accommodation purposes, the employee's partner qualifies as a 'spouse' for the purposes of the SRCA. However, ADF recognition may be of some assistance when determining whether the couple meet the narrower criteria under the SRCA..