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Tasmanian Government – “Consultation on Bill to Legalise Surrogacy”

 

Attorney-General Lara Giddings today released for public comment draft legislation to legalise altruistic surrogacy in Tasmania.

Ms Giddings said the Surrogacy Bill, which she aimed to introduce in the first sitting of State Parliament next year, would legalise surrogacy in certain defined circumstances.

“This legislation would help many Tasmanians to realise their dream of starting a family,” Ms Giddings said.

“I recognise that this is a complex and contentious area and that is why I intend to allow time for the community to comment on the draft legislation.

“For some people surrogacy may be the only way in which they are able to have children and I am pleased the proposed legislation would help them to become parents.

“Currently surrogacy arrangements are illegal in Tasmania and commercial surrogacy would continue to be banned.

“The Bill would permit all people, regardless of their marital status or sexual orientation, to enter into a surrogacy arrangement but a surrogate mother will only be able to accept medical and other related expenses.

“It would also impose conditions on parties entering into surrogacy arrangements, and will include requirements to undergo counselling and to obtain independent legal advice.

“Parentage of a child would only be transferred to the new parents where it is found by the Children’s Court to be in the best interest of the child to do so.”

Ms Giddings said the drafting of the Bill followed a Legislative Council Select Committee Report supporting the move, and support for the provision of altruistic surrogacy at a national level through the Standing Committee of Attorneys-General (SCAG). 

“This legislation has been developed by SCAG after extensive community consultation at a national level.

“It would bring Tasmania into line with other jurisdictions across Australia as well as meeting the expectations of the Select Committee.

“One jurisdiction which has taken a slightly different approach to the others (and to the current draft Tasmanian Bill) is Western Australian in its Surrogacy Act 2008. 

“That Act enables a court to make parentage orders in circumstances where the consent of the birth mother is not forthcoming but the child is the genetic child of the intended parent/s and is not the genetic child of the birth mother.

“Even in that circumstance the best interests of the child remains the paramount consideration which a court must have regard to when deciding whether to make a parentage order, but I invite comments on whether this provision might be included in the Tasmanian Act.”

Ms Giddings said progress on surrogacy delivered on another major aspect of her law reform agenda.

“I said in June this year that my key law reform priorities would be progressing a Charter of Rights and Responsibilities, reforming Tasmania’s sex industry laws, introducing surrogacy laws and developing voluntary euthanasia laws.

“We are currently consulting with Tasmanians about whether we need a Charter and if so what it should look like, and I am pleased that through the draft Bill released today we are making progress on surrogacy as well.

“The other two issues will be addressed in the coming months,” Ms Giddings said.

The draft Bill, together with some explanatory material as well as links to the interstate legislation is available on Department of Justice website (http://www.justice.tas.gov.au/legislationreview/reviews). 

Copies of the Bill can be downloaded from the website or obtained from the Department by emailing legislation.development@justice.tas.gov.au or by calling 6233 3798.

Comments on Bill can be directed to the Office of Legislation Development and Review, Department of Justice, GPO Box 825, Hobart. Submissions close on Friday 4 February 2011.

[Source: Original Article]

 

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