FAMILY RELATIONSHIPS (SURROGACY) AMENDMENT BILL (2014)

Second Reading

Adjourned debate on second reading.

(Continued from 12 November 2014.)

The Hon. J.S.L. DAWKINS(17:46:12): I will be brief. I thank those who have contributed: the Hon. Tung Ngo, the Hon. Kelly Vincent, the Hon. Rob Lucas, the Hon. Tammy Franks, and the minister, the Hon. Mr Hunter. I recognise the questions that have been raised. I very much appreciate the overall support for the work I am doing. I very much appreciate the conversations that I have had with the Hon. Tammy Franks about these matters over some time, and they assist me greatly.

The honourable minister, the Hon. Mr Hunter, has also put down a little bit of the history on the first bill that I put through this parliament which, from go to whoa, took up about 6½ years of my life, so it is an issue that I am very genuine about in doing the best I possibly can for the community

I also acknowledge the support I have had from other members in this chamber and in the parliament, and people outside in the community. I acknowledge them, particularly those who have personal experience. Most people who, for one reason or another, have had experience with surrogacy are very private about it, and I respect and understand that. However, there is a small number who are prepared to go public and who are prepared to raise issues.

I understand that the described unintended consequences that the Hon. Mr Hunter has discussed are ones that need to be clarified. I think, as a private member of parliament, we have endeavoured to clarify that as best as can be done with my limited resources. I am happy in the time between now and 11 February to do my best to clarify that and the other questions that have been put on the record.

There are a couple of things that I would like to add. Certainly, there was one suggestion that was raised with me earlier in the week through one arm of government: it had been suggested by some that the bill was not necessary because COAG is now dealing with this issue of the legality or otherwise of overseas surrogacies. That was not my understanding. My understanding was that COAG had very strongly been referred by the commonwealth back to the state jurisdictions.

Even if COAG is turning its mind to dealing with this situation, I pointed out to the person who had been good enough to tell me this that, some seven years ago I think it was, when I was first dealing with my private legislation in this place, I was told by someone from the government then that I did not need to worry because the Standing Committee of Attorneys-General was working on uniform legislation across the country—seven years ago!

So, it is appropriate that the parliamentary research library today has given us a document, 'A comparative analysis of surrogacy regulation', which shows that it could not be any further away from uniform legislation. I will not sit around and wait for COAG, and I do not think this parliament should at all do that.

My bill is not perfect, but it is a genuine effort to, I think, make some changes that need to be made, and I have put this to my friends in the government who have asked me to delay going further with it. I believe that it should not be John Dawkins doing this today but it should be the government doing it, and I think the two ministers concerned, the Attorney-General and the Minister for Health, ought to be doing this work and doing it with the strength of a department.

I appreciate the Hon. Mr Hunter's indication of the detail of the things he wants answered, but I will follow up from the conversation I have had with the minister and with the Hon. Gail Gago that I would very much appreciate some assistance if they could provide it to me, because between now and 11 February, when I want to continue with this, for me to have the best information it will be difficult if I do not have some other assistance. I am happy to talk to both ministers about that in due course.

I thank members very much for their expressions of interest and support, and sometimes that support is with a qualification and I understand that, but we have improved the access to the wonderful technology we have in South Australia for South Australians, and all I want to do is enhance that. With that, I commend the second reading to the council.

Bill read a second time.