Monday, January 19, 2015

Will criminalisation of intended parents be LNP policy after the Queensland election?

At the last Queensland election, then Opposition Leader Campbell Newman stated that there would be no changes to Queensland's surrogacy laws. Will he do so this time?

By June 2012, the Queensland Attorney-General Jarrod Bleijie, who has been silent in this campaign, said that the Newman government would wind back two areas:

  • non-biological lesbian mums would no longer have legal recognition 
  • the Surrogacy Act would be amended, in essence to criminalise single, gay and lesbian intended parents
The first proposal was dropped quickly, after it became apparent that Queensland would be out of step with all other States and Territories and the Commonwealth.

The Premier then said that his position before the State election was not firm, that he had been caught, in effect, on the hop. There was then a furious battle in Queensland seeking to influence Government views and public opinion- the Australian Christian Lobby who very much supported what the Attorney wanted to do, and others including Queenslanders for Equality, of which I was convenor, and the Labor Opposition, who wanted no change so that the law remained non-discriminatory.

By April 2014, the Government's position had seemingly changed. Sources told the Brisbane Times that the policy was dead and buried. The formal position of the Government remained the same- that the Government was considering the position and that there was no fixed position of the Government. That remains the Government's formal position.

I had been told by a senior government source that the Premier was strongly opposed to the proposal, but that the Attorney-General remained strongly in favour of the change, and if given the opportunity would revive the proposal. 

It is quite possible, if the polls are to be believed that:

  • the Premier will not be re-elected for Ashgrove
  • the Government will have a small majority
  • the Attorney will be re-elected in his seat
  • without the veto of the Premier, the Attorney may be able to persuade his fellow LNP MP's that the surrogacy laws ought be changed.
Tonight I attended the LGBTI forum between the candidates for Brisbane Central, including current LNP MP Rob Cavallucci, and former ALP MP Grace Grace. In response to my question about whether the Government's formal position matched its policy, Mr Cavallucci made it plain that he had strongly lobbied Government Ministers against the proposal, and as far as he was concerned the proposal is dead and buried. That may well be the case, but it is not formal Government policy. 

Will Mr Newman publicly state that the policy is dead and buried, and that there will categorically be no changes to the Surrogacy Act during the next term of Parliament to ban surrogacy for single, gay and lesbian intended parents? Hopefully we will know in the next two weeks.

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