Thursday 27 June 2013


Hansard of the Legislative Council




Mr FINCH (Rosevears) - Mr President, I can see little difference between same-sex couples being allowed second parent adoption, and them being allowed to adopt a child relinquished by another person.  As far as I can see, this bill rectifies an anomaly. Tasmania already allows same-sex parents to be registered foster parents.  It already allows same-sex couples legal equality in areas such as access to fertility treatment, deemed parenting and surrogacy.  So why should it not allow the adoption of a child relinquished by its parents?


This bill does not change the important principle, as we have heard, that the best interests of the child come before the selfish desires of adults.  It brings Tasmania into line with New South Wales, Western Australia and the ACT, which already allow full equality in adoption.  This bill is supported by the Australian Psychological Society, the Tasmanian Law Reform Commission, and adoption agencies such as Barnardos.


As we are aware, adoption authorities carry out a rigorous examination of couples who wish to adopt.  We are also aware that it is extremely difficult to adopt a child in Tasmania because there are so few children available for adoption, however, there are a substantial number of children in foster care, including foster care by same-sex couples.  In a small number of cases, it would be better for a foster child to be adopted by their foster parents and this bill will allow for that.

The Tasmanian Law Reform Institute puts the argument better than I can.

They said:

The Institute's view is that it does not have to be satisfied that homosexual parenting in general is as good for children as being raised by a married heterosexual couple before recommending that gay and lesbian couples be eligible for adoption.  It is our position that it is in the best interests of children for parents to be evaluated individually on the basis of their ability to be good parents and not to be assessed on assumptions based on their sexual orientation.


We do not need to revisit all the arguments about same-sex parenting versus opposite sex parenting.  That has been done many times, and it is not relevant to this bill.  However, I would like to point out that there is strong evidence that children raised by same-sex couples are as well-adjusted as their peers, if not more so.  As I said earlier, this bill removes an illogical anomaly and I see no reason why it should not become law.