Changes to Qld surrogacy laws would be discriminatory
The Queensland Government’s proposed changes to the state’s surrogacy laws would be discriminatory and contain “significant legislative inconsistencies”, according to the Queensland Law Society.
In a media statement, the Law Society said it had highlighted two major issues with legislation first mooted last month by Attorney-General Jarrod Bleijie (pictured) which would refuse access to surrogacy arrangements for same-sex couples, single people and those who have been in a de facto relationship for less than two years.
It has also been suggested criminal penalties including up to three years imprisonment could be introduced for refused couples who seek to become parents through altruistic surrogacy arrangements.
President of the Law Society, Dr John de Groot, said the organisation had decided to wade into the matter as there were serious concerns over the legislation being fair and whether it infringed upon human rights.
“This means ensuring clarity in workable laws and freedom from discrimination,” Dr de Groot said.
“The proposed changes to the Surrogacy Act can put people in a catch-22 situation.
“For example, a doctor who is approached to assist a same-sex couple to access a surrogacy arrangement may be an accessory to a criminal offence under state law if they assist, and if they refuse, unlawfully discriminating against the same-sex couple according to federal law.”
de Groot also said the LNP’s changes would allow government to set different rules for different people and discriminate in a way that businesses and individuals cannot.
“If companies or private individuals discriminate against people on the basis of their relationship status, they are violating two state and two commonwealth laws and a range of internationally recognised human rights,” he added.
“The current surrogacy law requires no change as it is consistent with other legislation and is non-discriminatory.”
In announcing the LNP’s intentions in Parliament on June 21, Bleijie said he was simply re-introducing amendments first introduced by current Health Minister Lawrence Springborg while in Opposition a number of years ago.
“That was a clear commitment given many years ago when that original debate took place,” Bleijie said at the time.
“The government will proceed to amend the Surrogacy Act.”
During this year’s election campaign Premier Campbell Newman said he would not alter surrogacy laws but has since said he was mistaken, as he was not across what the LNP party room had decided back in 2010 on the matter.