The Premier of Victoria in Australia has called for more rights for gay couples.

Labour Premier Steve Bracks has asked Attorney-General Rob Hulls to advise the government on whether a gay relationship register could be established in Victoria.

The register would be similar to a model already at work in Tasmania.

There same-sex couples can achieve legal recognition by applying to a government authority.

They would get a certificate which would confirm their right to make medical decisions for their partner and deal with government agencies on their behalf.

Other rights include pensions, wills, property division and the adoption of step-children.

Full adoption by same-sex couples is only legal in the Australian Capital Territory and Western Australia.

It is not yet known what exact rights the register in Victoria will allow for.

In the past, the premier has blocked attempts to allow civil partnerships in the state. This register is thought to be a compromise.

In March 2006, independent Victorian MP Andrew Olexander proposed a private member’s bill which was promptly dropped.

Pinknews.co.uk reported how Mr Olexander was disappointed that the prime minister was not supporting his attempts to introduce a bill but said: “it is by no means the end of the initiative.”

The Australian constitution was amended in 2004 to define marriage as between a man and a woman:

“Certain unions are not marriages. A union solemnised in a foreign country between: (a) a man and another man; or (b) a woman and another woman; must not be recognised as a marriage in Australia.”

A 2006 poll said 52% of Australians believed that same-sex relationships should be recognised through marriage or civil unions, while 37% disagreed.