Thursday 27 June 2013
Hansard of the Legislative Council
AMENDMENT BILL 2013 (No. 6)
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
Law Reform Institute puts the argument better than I can.
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.