Tuesday, 29 May 2012

Fam Ct splits boys between Australia and Canada: http://ow.ly/bdnMq
LGBTI legal service supports Healthy Communities rally tomorrow: http://ow.ly/bdePV

LGBTI legal service supports QAHC rally tomorrow

Brisbane's LGBTI legal service will stand shoulder to shoulder tomorrow to support the emergency rally to support the defunded Queensland Association for Healthy Communities.

Volunteers from the legal service, including co-ordinator Julie Howe, will be in attendance at the rally, to be held Wednesday 30 May at King George Square, Brisbane at 5pm.

Healthy Communities has been funded since inception with tackling HIV/AIDS prevention, but since the election of the Newman government, Health Minister Lawrence Springborg has removed that funding, asserting that healthy Communities has failed to tackle a raising infection rate in Queensland.

The rally has been called to protest that decision, and to say that Healthy Communities has support.

Disclosure: I am a volunteer at the LGBTI legal service. I will be in attendance at the rally tomorrow.
An overview of Australian surrogacy legal dramas: http://ow.ly/bddYp
My recent presentation about the Family Violence Bill: http://ow.ly/bddLm
Speech to West African community leaders about courage: http://ow.ly/bddvT
Launch of Queer Without Fear: http://ow.ly/bddjY

Monday, 28 May 2012

Last week I delivered a speech to West African community leaders about courage: http://ow.ly/bbUnW

Launch of Queer Without Fear


Julie Howes and Coral Logan from the LGBTI Legal Service at the launch.


A new booklet, Queer Without Fear, was launched in Brisbane today, dealing with the issue of LGBTI domestic violence. LGBTI domestic violence has been a largely hidden problem, with several unique characteristics, such as the fear of outing, not usually seen in domestic violence for those in heterosexual relationships, and with barriers preventing survivors from speaking out and obtaining help.

Based on a great booklet published by ACON about same sex domestic violence, Queer Without Fear was a joint effort of the Brisbane Domestic Violence Advocacy Service and the just defunded Queensland Association of Healthy Communities, with the support of the LGBTI Legal Service.

Funded by the Department of Communities Act as 1 campaign, the booklet is an exciting step forward in ongoing collaboration between domestic violence services and Healthy Communities, hopefully bringing the issue of same sex domestic violence out into the open.

Several thousand booklets have been printed.

Disclosure: I have been a volunteer at the LGBTI legal service for the last two years.

Wednesday, 23 May 2012

I have just had the most extraordinary experience delivering a speech to people from Togo, Congo, Burkino Faso. Electric atmosphere!

Tuesday, 22 May 2012

My upcoming presentations

I was delighted to learn today that one of my planned presentations later this year was not going ahead. Don't get me wrong- I like presentations. However, in addition to the time spent doing the presentation, is all the preparation time. As an extreme example, a number of presentations I have done or am to do this year are about the new Queensland Domestic and Family Violence Protection Act. It took me over 30 hours to prepare the paper for the first presentation!

Today's events made me think about the number of presentations I expect to do before the year is out.

By my latest count, I expect that by the year's end I will have done 14, or greater than one a month:

Those so far:

  • March: Legalwise- Domestic and Family Violence Protection Act 2012 (Qld)
  • April: City Fertility Centre: surrogacy issues for GP's
  • May: Australia's CEO Challenge: Family Violence Bill 2012
  • May: Australia's CEO Challenge: Domestic and Family Violence Protection Act 2012 (Qld)
Those still ahead:
  • May: Australia's CEO Challenge- presentation to West Africans about being a White Ribbon Ambassador- tomorrow
  • May: Surrogacy Australia national conference, Melbourne- this weekend
  • June: LexisNexis 9th annual family law summit Brisbane: surrogacy
  • June: Family Law Practitioners Association: Domestic and Family Violence Protection Act 2012 (Qld)
  • June: International Commission on Couple and Family Relations conference, Boston, workshop and presentation about how to get elements of the family law system working collaboratively (with Robin Purvis); presentation about Family Law Pathways network
  • July: NSW Fertility Counsellors Association training
  • August: possible: medico legal conference Brazil
  • September- yet to be confirmed: Child Protection Week
  • September: Hunter Valley family law practitioners conference
  • October/November: Save the Children's training about keeping good notes



Surrogacy Australia conference almost here

This weekend Surrogacy Australia is holding its first, groundbreaking,  national conference in Melbourne. This is the first conference to be held anywhere  by anyone in Australia focussing on the various issues to do with surrogacy.

I am excited to be a keynote speaker, not only because I will see friends, and clients, and because I will have the ability to give a presentation- all of that- but much more importantly because I will gain knowledge. One of the keys to a successful conference is that attendees have come away with knowledge, which informs and most importantly empowers them.

Although I specialise in advice about ART and surrogacy, I have no doubt that I will learn a lot from a range of exciting speakers. These include:

  • Dr Shivani Sachdev Gour. A fertility doctor from Delhi, Dr Shivani is the founder of Surrogacy Centre India. She also spoke on SBS Insight episode "Baby Business", which can be downloaded from here. Dr Shivani gave a gutsy performance defending Indian women.
  • Dr Kim Bergman. Kim is the co-owner of one of the world's oldest and largest surrogacy clinics, Growing Generations in Los Angeles. A psychologist by trade, Kim is an expert at screening intended surrogates.
  • David Shoebridge MLC. David is a Greens MP who opposed the changes to NSW laws that criminalised overseas commercial surrogacy.
  • Sam Everingham. Sam is the founder and guiding light of Surrogacy Australia. He and his partner have had their own difficult journey through surrogacy, also featured on SBS Insight Baby Business.
  • Rodney Chiang-Cruise. Rodney is the national convenor of Gay Dads Australia, as well as having become a dad himself through surrogacy. Rodney has been a passionate advocate for reform of the law in this area for many years.
  • Lisa Banfield. Lisa and her husband John overcame medical troubles, pain and enormous cost and red tape to be able to have their boys through surrogacy. I have been privileged to share a podium with Lisa. The power of her journey is astounding. She and John also featured on SBS Insight "Baby Business".
  • Karen Boughey. Karen is one of those delights: a surrogate who had one motive in mind: to help a childless couple achieve the dream of parenthood, which she did successfully! Karen speaks often to intended parents and surrogates about how to ensure the journey to parenthood is handled correctly.
For more details about the conference, click here.
I am going to the emergency LGBTI legal service meeting tomorrow night. Who else is going? #SaveQAHC

Friday, 18 May 2012

Family court case ends: @brisbanetimes http://ow.ly/aZEMU
Girls' mother sacks her lawyers, judge closes court:@brisbanetimes #Italian custody case http://ow.ly/aZsNy
Media circus outside Family Court in Brisbane: 9, 7 and Ten all with their OB vans, plus camera crews.

Wednesday, 16 May 2012

Putting a big pic of the kids on the front page of @couriermail and then naming them is a blatant breach of http://ow.ly/aWl60
@brisbanetimes Judge orders kids back to Italy: http://ow.ly/aWkVv Amazingly, @couriermail said it needed to be told it had breached laws!
@brisbanetimes Family Court judge criticises media outlet for "clearly" breaking the law: http://ow.ly/aWfLk
It was amazing to come to work to see smoke from Musgrave Park, then to taste it, then to see the march over Victoria Bridge.
Family Court judge considers Italian custody case: decision possible this afternoon: @ninemsn http://ow.ly/aWfeV
Italian custody case returns to Family Court this morning: Brisbane Times http://ow.ly/aW9yW
I enjoyed a breakfast courtesy of @CEOChallenge this morning, when Minister Davis announced those racing to help end domestic violence.

Monday, 14 May 2012

RT @bowlerbarrister: #FamilyLaw Parenting Arrangements and Bona Fide Overseas Travel - Marshall Chambers Blog http://t.co/MEiMnizV

Sunday, 13 May 2012

Five myths about gay marriage: Washington Post http://ow.ly/aS1xc
Gay unions "a risk to kids": top psychiatrist http://ow.ly/aS10N
FM Baumann: "We're not running a Facebook court". http://ow.ly/aS0VM As I have said before, Facebook can be like gold for family lawyers.

Saturday, 12 May 2012

Family Court forces children's return to Italy: Courier-Mail http://ow.ly/aRhmU

Friday, 11 May 2012

Bleijie leaves his options open

Queensland Attorney-General Jarrod Bleijie has left his options open when it comes to the repeal of the Civil Partnerships Act 2011, according to his comments reported in yesterday's Queensland Law Society magazine Proctor.

The Attorney told Proctor:



“The department is working on a brief for me and we are also getting legal advice in terms of options going forward, recognising the fact that there was an election commitment that we would repeal if it could be shown that these people won’t be left in legal limbo.
Cabinet has yet to form a view on it.  I’m going to be putting a submission to Cabinet, but I’m not doing that submission till I’ve got the legal advice.”
Premier Campbell Newman said in advance of the election that the civil partnerships would be abolished, but was unclear as to whether or not that this would apply to those who had already obtained a civil partnership.

Thursday, 10 May 2012

Gillard remains opposed to gay marriage, despite Obama's change: ABC http://ow.ly/aOFNa
North Carolina voters ban same sex marriage: NY Times http://ow.ly/aNmhF
Obama changes mind to support gay marriage: ABC http://ow.ly/aOs45
Colorado hits an impasse on civil unions bill: NY Times http://ow.ly/aNmoY

Wednesday, 9 May 2012

It's exactly 1 week after we commemorated domestic violence homicides. A man has been charged with his wife's murder: http://ow.ly/aNkyL
Gay men ease sperm donor shortage: Brisbane Times http://ow.ly/aLIp5

Tuesday, 8 May 2012

Man found not guilty of murder after killing wife with box cutter- jury accepted the defence he was provoked. http://ow.ly/aLtLd

Wednesday, 2 May 2012

Woman bashed to death on Brisbane footpath: attacker alleged to be known to her: http://ow.ly/aEpze
Whoops! Lawyer who got $50k per month alimony for his client had a relationship with her at the time: http://ow.ly/aDDSS
Man sues ex, alleging she bugged their son's clothes: http://ow.ly/aDDMw