For release: Friday 15 April, 2011

The Surrogacy Bill 2011 that passed Tasmania’s lower house yesterday is neither fair nor responsible to the interests and rights of children the Australian Christian Lobby’s Tasmanian Director Mark Brown said today.

Mr Brown said that by denying a child’s fundamental right to at least begin life with a mother and a father, and by mandating that some children be subject to motherless and fatherless lives, the state was failing its duty to secure the best interests of the child.

“It is clear from Attorney-General David Bartlett’s media release announcing the passage of the surrogacy bill through the lower house that the government was favouring the desire of adults – any adult(s) – to obtain a child instead of the more paramount rights of children.

“Mr Bartlett has called the bill ‘fair’ and ‘responsible’, highlighting that it ‘removes discrimination’, and declaring that ‘The Government couldn’t accept changes that killed-off the equality and fairness of the legislation’.

“But the state mandating fatherlessness and motherlessness is not fair or reasonable to a child.

“It is not fair for the state to decide that some Tasmanian children will never have the complementary love and care of a mother and a father. It is not reasonable to have children created to be deliberately separated from their biological families.”

Mr Brown said removing discrimination against adults was a poor basis for legislation that directly impacts the entire lives of children, as indeed surrogacy law does.

“A government that strictly adheres to non-discrimination principles to allow adults to fulfil their desire to obtain children is acting only in the interests of adults, and will inevitably breach the fundamental rights and needs of children, whose best interests are paramount.

“There are necessary and reasonable limits to discrimination that allow for decisions to be made in favour of children rather than adults. The surrogacy bill fails to find the right balance.”

Mr Brown also urged members of the upper house to carefully consider whether deliberately denying a child a mother and a father really was in that child’s best interest when it came to debating the bill in the Legislative Council.

He has urged voters in the upcoming Legislative Council elections to support candidates who will uphold the rights of children over the rights of adults.