Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Southern Star – “Call for Adoption Reforms” by Andie Noonan

Call for adoption reforms

Victorian gay and lesbian rights groups have urged the Brumby Government to move on same-sex adoption, claiming the state is now lagging on the issue.

The calls follow the release of a NSW report last week recommending the state amend its Adoption Act to allow same-sex couples to adopt.

Victorian Gay and Lesbian Rights Lobby spokesman Anthony Bendall said he feared the issue may be buried by the Brumby Government.

“There is a danger, particularly when it does not really appear to be on the agenda in a solid sense in Victoria, that Victoria is lagging behind the other jurisdictions,” he said.

“With the national process, you’ve got to get agreement from all the jurisdictions which can be quite difficult to do. So while it would be desirable for a national approach, if that’s not achievable we still think Victoria should do the right thing and have quality within its laws.”

The issue in Victoria was formally mooted in a Victorian Law Reform Commission report in June 2007 which recommended same-sex couples be granted the same legal rights to adopt as heterosexual couples.

Currently WA, Tasmania and the ACT all offer same-sex adoption rights.

A spokeswoman for Community Services Minister Lisa Neville told Southern Star same-sex adoption issue was being considered by a national working group.

“We have referred the recommendations of the Victorian Law Reform Commission Report … to the Community and Disability Services Ministerial Conference for discussion within a wider context of the role of adoption generally, and with a view of achieving a nationally consistent approach,” she said.

The spokeswoman said the working group is scheduled to meet later this year, however could not provide a firm date.

Bendall said the focus of any discussions surrouding adoption should remain on the needs of the child.

“Regardless of any particular attributes of the presumptive adoptive parents … the broadest possible range of adoptive parents should be available so that the focus is always on the best interests of the child,” he said.

He confirmed the VGLRL would push the state Attorney General and Community Services Minister for action.

The ALSO Foundation will also step up a renewed campaign.

“Adoption rights should not be a forgotten issue … the issue has not been given the state attention it deserves,” foundation CEO Lyn Morgain said.

[Link: Original Article]

No comments: