[caption id="attachment_6094" align="alignright" width="150" caption="Mark Brown"][/caption]



For release: Thursday April 14, 2011

Tasmanians are being urged to support candidates in the May 7 upper house elections who will support the right of a child to at least begin life with a mother and a father.

The Australian Christian Lobby described today’s likely lower house debate, which looks set to allow single men, single women and same-sex couples to acquire babies through surrogacy, as a fundamental breach of the rights of the child.

“The right of a child to at least begin life with a mother and a father is a fundamental right that should never be deliberately denied by a government which has a solemn duty to always act in the best interests of the child,” said ACL Tasmanian Director Mark Brown.

“While the desire for a child is a strong one for many adults, a compassionate civil society has a duty to ensure that the rights of the child come first.

“With elections set to take place for several upper house seats prior to debate on the Surrogacy Bill in the Legislative Council, the positions of candidates on this most fundamental of children’s rights will take prominence in the voting intentions of many Christians.

“We are calling on upper house candidates who will pledge to amend the Surrogacy Bill so that we don’t have a system of state-mandated fatherlessness or motherlessness.

“Whilst children are fatherless or motherless, mainly for reasons of tragedy or desertion, this is not something the state should decree for a child through legislation, which the Surrogacy Bill does,” Mr Brown said.

In the coming days the ACL will be sending questionnaires to all the candidates contesting the four upper house seats asking them for their views on a range of issues of concern to the Christian community, including whether candidates believe that surrogate children deserve to have a mum and a dad.

The responses to the questionnaires will be published on the ACL’s website and widely distributed to churches and individual Christians throughout the state.

“When responding to the questionnaire, we would encourage each of the candidates contesting the upper house elections to carefully consider whether the surrogacy model proposed by the government truly is in the best interests of children,” said Mr Brown.

ACL is opposed to all forms of surrogacy because of the well-documented confusion it causes for children who can end up with several adults having a biological and emotional stake in their birth and conception.

If the government is determined to legalise surrogacy, it should be restricted to infertile heterosexual couples, who can provide a child with the complementary love and care of a mum and a dad.

We would expect a children’s services minister and former child commissioner, both candidates, to understand the importance of ensuring the state does not mandate fatherlessness or motherlessness to a child.