Two ALP members, Michael Choi and Margaret Keech crossed the floor. Here are extracts of what they told the House as to why they changed sides.
- I have difficulties with surrogacy, primarily the concern that it is a practice which involves a
premeditated intention to separate a child from his or her birth mother. Notwithstanding the fact that I
have strong concerns for the wellbeing of the child conceived in this arrangement, I think I may be able
to be persuaded to support a very limited form of altruistic surrogacy as an absolute last resort for
infertile couples and only after all other available means are exhausted. I also agree that it is not in the
interests of an innocent child for his non-birth parents to be imprisoned. The configuration of a child’s
family is not his or her fault. Children should not be punished and disadvantaged because of this.
- The question that then ought to be asked is that, with all things being equal, would a child be
better off raised in a family of two parents with both genders present? Some will say that it makes no
difference. I respect that. I say it does, all things being equal. I believe in my conscience that children
develop best, both physically and emotionally, when they are reared in a stable family with both male
and female role models available, notwithstanding that this is not always possible. This is not to say that same-sex or single parents cannot be good parents; quite the opposite. Even those advocating for
same-sex parenting accept the importance of role models but seek only to argue that perhaps ‘other
positive role models can be found elsewhere such as scout leaders, school teachers and sport
- I do not accept, as the parliamentary committee argues, that as a legislator I must strike a
balance between the best interests and wellbeing of a child and on the other hand those people who are seeking to become parents through altruistic surrogacy arrangements. Nor do I accept that the interests of the child and that the interests of the parent compete and that a child’s interests need to be
harmonised with those of adults who wish to become parents through surrogacy. To me, such an
argument is completely contrary to the intentions of the UN convention.
- I do agree with my colleagues that children born into same-sex and single surrogacy
arrangements should not be further disadvantaged simply because of the actions of adults. The rights of children who are or will be born in the future in these circumstances in my view should be vigorously
advocated where possible by this parliament.