Media Release: Monday, 23 March, 2009

A NSW MP’s questioning of whether most Australian children are still brought up by a mother and a father has been laid to rest by Federal Government statistics showing this is by far the most common family type.

During a recent NSW same-sex adoption inquiry hearing NSW Liberal MP John Ajaka tried to throw doubt on the make-up of the “normal” family and asked for statistics to support the Australian Christian Lobby’s statement that the vast majority of children are brought up in a heterosexual family environment.

In replying to Mr Ajaka’s question on notice, the ACL has provided clear proof that this is the case, as detailed last year in a special Federal Government report entitled ‘Families in Australia: 2008’.

The report states: “Couple families (where the children are the natural or adopted children of both parents) are still the most common type of family with children under 18 years. In 2006-2007 they made up 73% of all families with children under 18.” (See page 13).

On page 14, the report goes on to state: “The 2006 Census suggests there are around 26,000 same-sex couples, making up less than 1% of all families. Around 11% of these families (or 2,900 families) had one or more children of any age living with them (ABS, 2006a).”

“Notwithstanding the devastating amount of family breakdown society has seen in the last couple of generations, it remains the case that the majority of children are being brought up by a mother and a father,” ACL National Chief of Staff Lyle Shelton said today. “This is something we can be thankful for as it provides by far the best environment for children, who benefit from the love and role models of both a mother and a father.

“We recognise that many single parents do great work in raising children under often difficult circumstances but that is a far different situation from a government deciding to deliberately put children up for adoption into a family situation where they won’t have a mother and father and the optimum benefits that brings.

“Same-sex law reforms passed by the Federal Parliament last year already provide same-sex couples looking after children with the practical rights and responsibilities of parents,” he said.

“We urge the NSW Parliament not to change adoption laws to suit the desires of a small number of people when this is not practically necessary and so clearly goes against the best interests of children.”

Media Contact: Glynis Quinlan