Monday, 25 January 2010

Top 10 discipline methods NOT to use on your kids- the Ozarks one is amazing. Thanks to Michael Rich.

Saturday, 9 January 2010

NSW government rejects same sex adoption: overturns committee report

"It is axiomatic in government that hornets' nests should be left unstirred, cans of worms should remain unopened, and cats should be left firmly in bags and not set among the pigeons. Ministers should also leave boats unrocked, nettles ungrasped, refrain from taking bulls by the horns, and resolutely turn their backs to the music."

I dropped in this quote from the master of do-nothing, Sir Humphrey Appleby from TV's Yes Minister, as it demonstrates the approach by the NSW government to same sex adoption. NSW Minister Linda Burney  has been quoted as saying that the government decided not to change the law to include same sex adoption as it was "too complex" and "sensitive" and that there would need to be "more discussion". In the process the government has rejected the approach of a parliamentary committee which recommended the changes.

In other words, the NSW Labor government proposes that the changes do not occur- to quote Sir Humphrey again: "in the fullness of time", "at the appropriate juncture".

The decision has meant, inevitably, that there it a hotch potch of laws concerning adoption in Australia. Same sex adoptions can occur in WA and Victoria, and in limited circumstances in Tasmania, but not elsewhere. As a result, there have been inevitable calls for national, uniform laws to allow same sex adoption.

Back in May, Fairfax was reporting that the NSW government was not going to support same sex adoption, in order to keep the support of Fred Nile in the Upper House. Rev. Fred Nile was one of those instrumental in opposing the original marchers for LGBT equal rights in NSW that morphed into the mardi gras.

Tuesday, 5 January 2010

Back into it

I hope that everyone had a nice break over Christmas and the New Year. I did, and am now back into it. The reality for LGBTI people in Australia is that there remains discrimination, some hidden and some obvious, some deliberate, and some caused by bureaucratic mindsets and lack of thought. Those who are most discriminated against are transgendered people who still struggle to be heard.

The other realities are that there will be changes this year in law to make it more fair, and there will be changes in caselaw reflecting arrangements for property settlement and children for LGBTI people.

2009 brought tremendous change in laws for LGBTI people. By way of examples:
  • a raft of discriminatory laws were removed by the Rudd Government, in line with election promises, covering areas such as family law, Centrelink, public sector superannuation, and Medicare.
  • NSW also got rid of a raft of discriminatory laws.
  • de facto couples (including same sex couples) now have uniform laws on property settlement throughout Australia (excluding WA and SA). South Australia still discriminates in not recognising same sex couples for property settlement purposes.
  • the push for surrogacy laws continued. However this was tempered in Queensland with the regressive Surrogate Parenthood Act 1988 remaining in force. The Bligh Government has a bill to legalise altruistic surrogacy (but still to penalise those who use overseas commercial surrogacy clinics), but the LNP has its alternative version- to exclude same sex couples.
  • Queensland updated its adoption laws- but specifically excluded same sex couples from being eligible to adopt.
  • a gay couple were given standing in the Federal Magistrates Court to seek orders about a child for which neither man was the father, but both of whom were arguably considered father figures. The mother opposed their being able to go to court. Her former lesbian partner supported the men's efforts.
  • the Federal Magistrates Court decided that for a lesbian couple to be recognised as "parents" under the Family Law Act, they had to be a de facto couple at the time of conception, not the time of birth.