Saturday, April 25, 2009

Australian Gay and Lesbian Law Blog - “Queensland to Legalise Surrogacy” by Stephen Page

Stephen Page from the Australian Gay and Lesbian Law Blog is always quick with the news and his blog is one I read daily. He has just posted the Ministerial Media Statement about the legalisation of surrogacy in Queensland:


Altruistic Surrogacy to be decriminalised in Queensland

The Bligh Government will decriminalise altruistic surrogacy in Queensland, giving hundreds of women and couples the opportunity to have children.

Premier Anna Bligh said the decision of the government today would give Queenslanders who were unable to conceive a child fresh hope of starting a family.

"As a mother, I know the incredible joys parenthood can bring," Ms Bligh said.

"Today's decision means Queenslanders who are not able to conceive a child of their own will now have a legal avenue to do so.

"The decision follows the unanimous recommendation of a Joint Parliamentary Committee last year, to change the current Queensland law which makes all forms of surrogacy illegal.The committee recommended decriminalising the practice of altruistic surrogacy - where a woman agrees to bear a child for another person, for no financial gain or personal benefit.

"Cabinet has provided in principle support for the committee's recommendations, and we have agreed to take the necessary action to see the practice of altruistic surrogacy decriminalised.

"The reality is, for some people, surrogacy is their only chance of starting a family. It is not fair that their genuine efforts to do so could land them in jail, or see them face fines of up to $10,000.

"Queensland is currently the only state in Australia where altruistic surrogacy is considered a crime, punishable by jail.

"This government's decision will ensure Queenslanders now have the chance to consider this option, without fear of a prison sentence."

Attorney-General Cameron Dick said that the decriminalisation of altruistic surrogacy has a range of regulatory implications regarding parentage in Queensland.

"The Government will develop a mechanism to allow the transfer of legal parentage from the birth mother to the child's intending parents in altruistic surrogacy arrangements," Mr Dick said.

"This legal framework to support transfer of legal parentage is an issue that requires close consideration by governments at both the state and federal level."

Mr Dick said the national Standing Committee of Attorneys-General is set to discuss this issue at its next meeting in August this year.

"It is important that we achieve some level of cross-jurisdictional consistency, to ensure no child in Australia is disadvantaged."
He said the committee had also recommended the government conduct a review of the status of children being cared for by same-sex parents.

"This is a complex and sensitive issue that attracts strong and diverse views but the government is committing to undertake a review of the legal status of children being cared for by same-sex parents. "

At the end of the day, we want to ensure that all people who want to be parents have the opportunity to be - and most importantly, that all children are treated equally."

Ms Bligh said commercial surrogacy will remain illegal.

"We do not agree with the practice of people using surrogacy as a means of making money.

"Anyone involved in this practice will continue to face fines of up to $10,000 or a maximum of three years imprisonment.

"The legislative changes to decriminalise altruistic surrogacy will be in place by the end of the year.

[Link: Original Article]

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