Bill: FAMILY RELATIONSHIPS (SURROGACY) AMENDMENT BILL


Mr GARDNER (Morialta) (17:43): I am interested in the Attorney-General's remarks. While I have undertaken to be brief, he has said some things that cannot go without response. The Attorney-General says that a bill went through the parliament some time ago—the original bill to which this amendment bill makes further changes. In fact, it was the original act, because this parliament passed that bill. The Attorney said it 'passed on the voices' and was not really addressed here. I had carriage of that bill, which was of course of interest to Mr Dawkins, as the Attorney said. That is because it was Mr Dawkins' bill, as is this.

Mr Dawkins took that bill through the Legislative Council, where it was fully debated. It was considered by caucus, and it was considered by the Liberal Party's party room. The Attorney-General had the opportunity in caucus, or indeed in the parliament, to give weight to his considerations. He thinks it is unworkable legislation, yet his party was happy enough to support it, and it was allowed through the parliament. I do not know if the Attorney-General is aware, but in this chamber the government has the numbers and he is the Attorney-General.

If the Attorney-General is so certain that the current act of parliament that passed through this parliament was so inferior that it was not deserving of support, then perhaps he could have used his weight as the Deputy Premier to convince his party colleagues and caucus not to support it. He did not and the bill went through the parliament. At the time, he had the opportunity to put all these things on the record. He is the Attorney-General, he has lots of staff giving advice on these things, and he did not.

However, he did, in good faith, engage with Mr Dawkins so that these improvements to the bill, as he has outlined, could go through. He has made government time available, which I know Mr Dawkins appreciates, as do I. We want the bill to be workable. Anyone interested in my views or the views of other members on surrogacy and the principles themselves can go back to those original debates and consider them. The particular concern of Mr Dawkins was to ensure that a situation such as baby Gammy would not be countenanced or able to happen. The opportunity to make regulations was left with the government by that act. Now, the government not having done so, not having put regulations in place, has requested that the bill be brought forward as well.

I am supportive of the bill. The Hon. John Dawkins MLC has been working for many years toward enabling surrogacy provisions to be available for families in South Australia. He has worked very hard and we are very close to the end. I hope that the bill will enable that to take place in a sensible manner. I commend the Hon. Mr Dawkins for the work he has done over that time. Hopefully, we will see some of those South Australian families have much better outcomes in the years ahead.