Office of the Attorney-General
and Minister for Justice
14 August 2012
Dear Mr Page
Thank you for your letter dated 28 June 2012 regarding proposed changes to the Surrogacy Act 2010 (Surrogacy Act). The Honourable Jarrod Bleijie MP, Attorney-General and Minister for Justice, has asked me to reply on his behalf. I apologise for the delay in responding.
On 21 June 2012, the Attorney-General announced in the Legislative Assembly the Queensland Government will introduce amendments to the Surrogacy Act to remove the eligibility of same sex-couples, de facto couples who have been together for less than two years and singles to be an intended parent under parentage order.
The proposed amendments are consistent with the Liberal National Party’s (LNP) position taken during the original debate for the Surrogacy Act and the Private Member’s Bill, the Family (Surrogacy) Bill 2009, introduced by the Honourable Lawrence Springborg MP, Member for Southern Downs as the Opposition Attorney-General in 2009.
The proposed amendments will preserve the legal rights of all parties to existing parentage orders and surrogacy arrangements but will not enact any new criminal offences.
As I am sure you are aware, the Status of Children Act 1978 (the SoC Act) codifies the common law parentage presumptions to provide legal certainty for children born in different circumstances. Additional presumptions of parentage have been included since the passage of the SoC Act to deal with artificial insemination and other fertilisation procedures, where the birth mother requires the donation of sperm and/or ovum or embryo to fall pregnant and give birth to a child.
In 2010, the SoC Act was further amended to include sections 19A to 19G to specifically create a presumption of parentage where a woman undergoes a fertilisation procedure and gives birth to a child with the consent of her female de facto and/or recognised partner. In this case, it is presumed that the sperm, ovum or embryo donor has no rights or responsibilities relating to the child born as a result of the pregnancy, and the woman’s de facto partner or registered partner is presumed to be a parent of the child and may be registered as a ‘parent’ on the child’s birth certificate.
The 2010 amendments to the SoC Act were supported by the LNP at that time. The Queensland Government is not currently intending to amend or repeal any of the parentage presumptions contained in the SoC Act.
I acknowledge your work in representing people who seek to enter into surrogacy arrangements and I appreciate you taking the time to share your views and opinion with the Attorney-General. Unfortunately the Attorney-General is unable to meet with you to discuss these matters further.
If you wish to discuss this matter further, please contact Mr Nathan Ruhle, Adviser, on 3224 7481.
Chief of Staff and Principal Adviser