Sunday, 14 February 2010

Queensland Surrogacy Laws: Round 1: what the Opposition said

I have set out extracts of some of the Queensland Parliamentary debates as to the surrogacy changes. This is Round 1: what the Opposition said. Round 2 is what the Government said. Round 3 is the two Government MP's who crossed the floor.

 It must be remembered that the decriminalisation of altruistic surrogacy was bipartisan policy- so far as it covered married and heterosexual de facto couples. The elements of controversy between the Bligh Government and the LNP Opposition were:
  • the LNP opposed same sex couples and single people being included as intended parents
  • the LNP opposed birth certificates issuing in which two women were named as parents
The debate was led on the Government side by the Attorney-General, Cameron Dick and on the Opposition side by his Shadow, Lawrence Springborg. Unlike the debates in Victoria and Western Australia on this point, the debate in the Queensland Parliament reached a fever pitch, and was the kind of debate on a bill not seen in years. I have highlighted portions in bold.

Over to Lawrence Springborg:
  • Labor’s loopy, loony, lefty ideas really started to come to the fore. This is some sort of pay-off for those members of the Left who were concerned about the government not going far enough on the likes of abortion reform in Queensland. They got their quid pro quo with some loopy, loony, lefty position when it comes to parenting in Queensland.
  • Let us look at what the Family Council of Queensland said this morning in an open letter to state
    MPs. It said—

    The Bill—the Surrogacy Bill 2009—should have been about altruistic surrogacy—that is, non-commercial surrogacy—as a ‘last resort’ for an infertile couple. But no, under that respectable cloak this bill smuggles in an oppressive proposal to deprive children of their birthright—their fundamental right to enter the world, as all of us did, with both a mother and a father.
    By what authority does any government permit adults to deny a child her primal right and most profound emotional need: to have both a Mum and a Dad in her life?
    It goes on further to say that under this bill a homosexual couple can arrange to bring a baby girl into the world with the full intention of denying that child even the possibility of a mother in her life. The bill will help a single woman to obtain a surrogate baby boy, condemning that baby to live without even the possibility of a father.
    We know that in the community relationships are not absolutely ideal. We know that in the community certain circumstances happen. We also know that in the community there have been samesex people, principally lesbian women, who have taken the opportunity to have a child. That has been a case of them utilising the opportunities open to them. There is a big difference between that and the state actually legislating to allow it to be part of acceptable families in Queensland. At the time [altruistic surrogacy] was very much couched in the notion of being extremely limited—limited for medical purposes. There was no mention whatsoever of the social desires of those people who, for all intents and purposes, cannot have children without that sort of intervention.
  • We will be opposing the government bill absolutely categorically when it comes to those components of it. Those components unfortunately contaminate something that should be given the worthwhile consideration of this parliament—that is, non-commercial surrogacy in the way that it was originally couched and that was in limited terms for medical reasons and not for social reasons.
  • Unfortunately, other reasonable concepts, including the right of same-sex parents—principally women—who have conceived a child using IVF and who wish to have a guardian recognition of that
    child, have also been tied up in this legislation. That issue should have been dealt with very separately,
    and there is a justifiable right for those people to have that recognition because those children are out
    there and those family relationships already exist. But the LNP will not—absolutely will not—be
    supporting this bill because it is a contamination with the same-sex notions which the Labor Party has put in here.
  • It is also now opening surrogacy for singles. We know full well that children do better in an environment where they have a mum and a dad. We know that.
  • However, this parliament is seeking to legislate some sort of socialist ideology that says, ‘We will
    deliberately facilitate single-parent families. We will deliberately facilitate same-sex families.’
  • There are different desires for those adults. Some of them—heterosexual couples who are either
    de facto or married—may have been trying to have children for some time and for a medical or genetic reason they cannot have a child and they might not be able to adopt a child. That is a very clear medical reason for that situation to happen. However, now it is a broad social qualification as well for those people who, because of lifestyle, would not normally expect to have a child. With this legislation, they can say, ‘Okay, we’re going to do that.’ We have basically now got designer families. This is about designer families and this is about satisfying the desires of adults. This is not about the children.
  • Anyone who says that this is about homophobia is absolutely and completely wrong—absolutely
    and completely wrong—because you cannot couch this in the terms of someone’s actual sexuality. This is not a mainstream issue. This is not a mainstream issue for the gay community.
  • There is a fundamental difference between the Labor Party and the LNP when it comes to these views, and one that we do not support which the Labor Party does support is the notion of the state
    actively intervening and actually facilitating the notion of gay parenting through a surrogacy arrangement.
  • I also have serious concerns about what is proposed in this legislation in that there does not have
    to be a clear genetic relationship between those people who are desiring to be parents under this
    arrangement and the surrogate mother.
  • Even though it is a non-commercial arrangement, we are dealing with the social mores and desires of certain individuals and, therefore, it can be perceived that there is a commoditisation of women and children through this process.
  • Children desire a mum and a dad. That is the simple reality. We should not be seeking to deny that.
  • The bill is so contaminated by your loopy, loony, leftie policies that it is absolutely impossible to support it. If members opposite disaggregate the bill and take those particular sections out, we will support that section. We will support noncommercial surrogacy for heterosexual couples, but we are not going to support something that is so utterly and completely contaminated.
Ray Hopper LNP Condamine:
  • Every child deserves the right to have a mother and a father, not two mothers. Every child deserves a solid family home. My definition of a family is a father and a mother and children.
  • Under the Family (Surrogacy) Bill 2009 put forward by the LNP, it would be illegal for homosexual
    couples and singles to go through this program. We make that point very, very clear. It is not our right to put a child in that situation. How dare we use our position in this chamber to bring in a law to allow that to happen? It disgusts me. Children are not pets; children are human beings.
  • This is not about prejudice or arguing about same-sex couples wanting to become parents; this is about the rights of the child.
  • Gay people may make a choice about their sexual preference and lifestyle.
  • What this government wants to do is serve the best interests of the adults—in this case homosexual couples—before the best interests of the child have been served.
  • The fact that they were conceived in order to be given away to a homosexual couple and we made them face yet one more challenge and more confusion as they struggle to understand why they were deliberately made to grow up in this situation that has no biological reality.
  • I accept that same-sex couples may choose to live together in ways different to others, but I do not accept the exploitation of children, assuming them to be a commodity which may be used by same-sex couples so that they can feel good.
  • One of them is so that same-sex couples can feel good, to gain popularity, and in doing so reduce children to the status of pets which can be acquired for our comfort and pleasure.
  • Let us look at the first five years of a child’s life. How would it be if a little boy had two mothers?
    How do they take him to a public toilet when they go on a so-called family outing? They will have to go to the ladies toilet, won’t they?
  • How dare we try to break down the morals of a family by agreeing to this legislation?
John-Paul Langbroek (Opposition Leader)
  • I want to congratulate [Lawrence Springborg]  for his comprehensive presentation prior to lunch.
  • I do not come to this decision because of any prejudice or hatred towards same-sex couples. I
    come to my decision because, when it comes to welcoming a child into this world, the paramount
    concern is their interests and their opportunity, where possible, for them to benefit in life from both a
    mother and a father. This, to my mind, outweighs all other concerns. I am concerned that the
    government’s bill does not place the best interests of a child as the paramount concern and seems to be a step in the direction towards social engineering.
  • The government’s bill would take a significant step down the road towards turning children into commodities.
  • The child’s need for a father and a mother outweighs all other equitable concerns—no matter how unfair this might seem to what would be loving parents. We must in my view always place the child’s interests first.
Jan Stuckey, Currumbin

  •  If a person decides to partner with someone the same sex
    as themselves, surely they acknowledge there is no physical way they can create a baby biologically.
    These are not fertility issues; they are life choice issues and should be viewed in that vein. I do not
    support surrogacy for social infertility or lifestyle reasons.
Rosemary Menkens, Burdekin

  •  the government bill...
    is simply a left wing attack on our family structure and on our society
  • An unborn child has a right to a
    male father and a female mother.
  • He (a single father) can be a brilliant parent, but he will never be a mother.
David Gibson, Gympie
  • Holding infertile couples to ransom to the desire of one other segment of our society
    is nothing short of a disgrace.
  • I do not believe—and I reject totally—the paternalistic views that are espoused by those who, in some way, would say my life would have been better if I had had gay parents. My life is mine to live. [Hansard records the interjection of Government members: "No one said that."]
  • At the barbecue that was held here with the lesbian and gay community I said that I would support having the age of consent for heterosexual and homosexual sex made the same age. There is no reason we should discriminate between male and female and between gay and straight. I would support that....My view is that the age of consent for both should be 18.
  • It is interesting to note that, when the barbecue was held here for the lesbian and gay community,
    the LNP representation at that barbecue was greater than the Labor Party representation. However,
    those opposite would have us believe that somehow the LNP is homophobic or that somehow we do not want to be with the gay community and yet we outnumbered the Labor Party at that barbecue. What can the lesbian and gay community take from this debate tonight? One very simple point: they will get honesty from the LNP, but from the Labor Party they will get deceit, they will get deception and they will get whatever they want to say to prove their point.
  • This bill defies our obligations under the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child,
    because extending surrogacy for social reasons to single parents and same-sex couples breaches the
    fundamental right of every child to at least begin life with a mother and a father.
 
 
Shane Knuth, Dalrymple
  • Babies are not toys.
  • Changing standards to
    suit minority groups is unethical and dangerous.
  • Labor slipped in an oppressive proposal to deprive children of their birthright—their fundamental right to enter the world, as all of us did, with both a mother and a father. It is despicable and unbelievable that any government would try to deny a child of their mostprofound emotional need, and that is to have a mum and a dad in their life. It would be sad for a child to be brought up, with the support of government, asking what a mum is.
  • The United Nations Declaration on the Rights of the Child affirms that a child must not, save in the
    most exceptional circumstances, be separated from his mother, and Labor’s bill does exactly that: in a
    premeditated way, a little girl shall live without a mother purely to satisfy the desire of two homosexual
    men to have a baby of their own.
Dr Alexander Douglas, Gaven
  • The amendments to the status of children will allow a lesbian partner of a child’s birth mother to
    be the legal father of that child.
  • Lesbian women can have sex with a male to
    achieve a pregnancy and frequently do so. I am sorry that sounds so disgusting.
  • Conventional couples and a lesbian pairing pass what we would describe as both tests—those
    tests being able to provide an egg, sperm and a viable womb in some, but not all, cases. Male
    homosexuals cannot pass both tests. Egg donors are few and far between, and this is the critical point.
    There is a five-year wait. After waiting five years, the test for getting donor eggs is very, very tough,
    whereas sperm donors are freely available. It stands to reason that homosexual males place an
    unreasonable burden on the system that makes surrogacy a sound concept. They legally cannot be
    mothers so they should not be included. That said, we need to get over it and get used to it. We need to move on. Let medical facts guide your decision. I am sorry to say that homosexual males must be treated as a separate group and for medical reasons alone must not be included in this bill.
Dr Mark Robsinon, Cleveland
  • Parenting is not a universal human right.
  • It is disappointing that the government’s bill has been
    hijacked by the gay lobby. The government’s bill has been aptly described by Family Council of
    Queensland President Alan Baker as a Trojan Horse for the normalisation of same-sex parenting,
    saying that it established in law the absurd proposition that two men or two women are the same as a
    mother and father.
  • Under this bill, for example, two men can create a situation where a baby will live their whole life without a mother, just because they want to call a child their own. The mother would cease to exist in law for the child obtained by a single man or homosexual couple. The father would cease to exist in law for the child obtained by a single woman or lesbian couple. The natural bonds of family and belonging would be destroyed by the legal implications of this bill. It is an absurd proposition that two men or two women are just the same from a child’s perspective as a real mother and father.
Rob Messenger, Burnett
  • a radical socialist agenda
  • Whatever the reason or circumstances motivating or medical
    technology enabling a child surrogacy, surrogacy still involves taking a baby away from its birth mother
    and it is fraught with moral, ethical and physical dangers to both the baby and the birth mother, no
    matter what deals have been agreed to before the birth.
    Take, for example, the stolen generation. The stolen generation involved children being taken
    away from their Aboriginal birth mothers. Are Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander women going to be used as surrogate mothers? Once those babies are taken away from those Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander birth mothers, is there any requirement that they be raised in a culturally appropriate way? Or does that not matter, because the surrogate children will not be considered Aboriginal, even though theyhad an Aboriginal birth mother? Will this legislation allow an Aboriginal birth mother to give away her baby girl, for example, to a single man, or to two men, or to two men and one woman who decide to live in a committed relationship? Where are the limits on the types of social and personal arrangements that are allowed by this legislation? There is no limit. It is open slather.
Jarrod Bleijie, Kawana
  • I am deeply concerned with the rights of a child to have heterosexual parents.
  • This bill is the start of the socialist reform agenda. They start with same-sex
    parenting and one begins to wonder where they will go and when they will stop. Children are not a
    commodity. You cannot just expect to make them and shoot them out left, right and centre for the sake of some selfish right for children.
  • I note those opposite will be voting by way of conscience. Can I suggest to those members
    opposite who profess to be followers of the Pope that they read the words of the Pope first and then
    follow their conscience.
  • People should not flippantly make babies the guinea pigs of Labor’s social experiment.
Fiona Simpson, Maroochydore
  • The real purpose of Premier Anna Bligh’s bill is not children’s rights but homosexual rights.

Andrew Powell, Glasshouse
  • There is simply too much uncertainty for me to vote in favour of either the

    government’s bill or the Deputy Leader of the Opposition’s private member’s bill. I will be voting no.
Ros Bates, Mudgeeraba
  • This same government banned same-sex couples and singles from adopting, so why is it any different for same-sex couples trying to access surrogacy? 
Andrew Cripps, Hinchinbrook
  • The LNP is not saying that single people or individuals in same-sex relationships are not
    good people. The LNP is not reflecting on the capacity of those people to love or care for others. There are many single parents in the community who devote themselves to their children and have their best interests at heart. There are many people in same-sex relationships who are undoubtedly very
    committed to their partners and their families. However, the LNP is supporting the principle that a child ought to have the right to grow up with both a mother and a father in their lives.
Jack Dempsey, Bundaberg
  • The Bligh government’s bill is actually playing silly politics with the hopes and
    dreams of same-sex couples who are trying to have more than only altruistic surrogacy addressed by
    our parliament. For example, the Bligh government denied same-sex couples adoption rights, which
    seems hypocritical in light of what it is trying to do with altruistic surrogacy.
Peter Dowling, Lockyer
  • My vote will be for the children—the
    children who, through no fault of their own, will end up as pawns in a high-stakes social engineering
    experiment. They will become guinea pigs in this experiment.
  • The government legislation is crafted in a selfish manner. It biases the wants or the whims of a
    minority in our community. Parenting is a privilege and a blessing. It is not a right; it is a gift. A child is not an accessory or a commodity that could be or should be traded.
  • I am going to discriminate. I am going to discriminate in favour of the child.
  • We have heard about rights. I am going to stand up for the rights of the child
Ted Sorensen, Hervey Bay
  • As the good Lord would have it, gay people are in
    love and in partnership with somebody of the same sex and, as the good Lord would also have it, they
    do not have the ability to bear children. The best interests of the child are far greater than the rights of
    same-sex couples and single persons who may claim to want to be parents of a child.
  • All religious groups and God-fearing people are opposed to this bill.
  • About 20 years from now will the Prime Minister or the Premier of the day be apologising to the surrogate children as we have apologised to the stolen generation and the war orphans?
Michael Crandon, Coomera
  • The fact that there are cases put forward where
    child being reared in a same-sex relationship has been successful does not provide a basis of proof
    that a child coming into the world under those circumstances will be successful.
  • I can imagine a case where a woman chooses not to have a child for social reasons, not medical
    reasons. It may be that the woman has a career and does not want a break in that career that carrying
    and giving birth to a child may cause. In that case it is for convenience. I do not believe that that social
    need is acceptable.
  • I can imagine a case where a woman chooses not to have a child for social reasons, not medical
    reasons. It may be that the woman has a career and does not want a break in that career that carrying
    and giving birth to a child may cause. In that case it is for convenience. I do not believe that that social
    need is acceptable.
  • If the Surrogacy Bill 2009 is voted into law today, it will be my view that should
    the LNP gain government we will undo the wrong of the bill’s current form.
Vaughan Johnson, Gregory
  • I
    have said things in this House in the past that I am not proud of in relation to some of these issues, but I have seen the ill of my ways and apologised to those people in question. [Mr Johnson said that there damned the de facto property provisions because they included same sex couples. He later said that he would have a beer with a "normal homosexual".]
  • In relation to what some members will say and do in voting here this evening, I hope
    their conscience lets them vote the right way. All I can say is: God bless the family unit and God bless
    you in making the right decision.
Steve Dickson, Buderim

  • I am not saying that a gay couple cannot be a happy couple together, but the cold reality of life is
    that two men cannot bear a child, two women cannot bear a child. This goes against the natural order of things.
Mike Horan, Toowoomba South
  • Imagine a little boy growing up not
    having the opportunity of a father all through those years to look after him and carry him around as a
    babe, to muck around and wrestle with him, to teach him to play cricket or footy or fencing, to take him fishing—all the things that fathers and sons do.
  • What about young girls growing up without a father to put a strong arm around their shoulder and provide them with security throughout their life? They will not have a father to walk them down the aisle one day, who will love them and be sad at giving them away in marriage.
  • Are we going to allow these designer arrangements to be put in place?
  • Dorothy Pratt, Independent, Nanango

  • When this bill passes this generation will be known as the detached
    generation. They will be detached from their genetic history, they will be detached from their biological
    family and they will be detached from their own ancestral history. Who is going to apologise to them?Surrogacy should be a last resort for childless heterosexual couples.



    • Chris Foley, Independent, Maryborough
      • Homosexual behaviour by definition is not normal behaviour in that it is not
        behaviour which is practised by the majority of our society, which is the definition of normal.
      • (Homosexual behaviour) is also not normal behaviour medically in that it uses parts of the human anatomy for purposesthat they were never intended to be used for.
      • Clearly I am not a homophobic, just ask my friends...
      • People who do choose that lifestyle are only too aware that one of the consequences of that choice of lifestyle is that they cannot naturally produce children.
        Ms Grace interjected.
        Mr FOLEY: I take that interjection. I have never seen two guys actually—
        Ms Grace interjected.
        Mr FOLEY: Not between them personally.
      • This legislation puts children in a situation where they become a commodity or a chattel.
      • This bill smuggles in an oppressive proposal to deprive children of their birthright, which is their fundamental right to enter this world as all of us did with both a mother and a father.
      Peter Wellington, Independent, Nicklin
      • Children should
        have an opportunity to have a mother and a father. I believe that is the cornerstone of what our whole
        community is about.

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