Page 1883 - Week 06 - Wednesday, 8 June 2022

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sperm bank with whom the clinic had a service agreement had changed their guidelines …

When Lola was 7 years old, she informed me that she would never use a donor. When she was 8 years old, she told me she would look for all of her siblings until she dies. That’s a significant chunk of her adult life I’ve appropriated. I decided Lola needed some counselling. Given my experience with the fertility clinic’s counsellor, I knew no one would understand what it is like being donor-conceived. It took me a long time to find a specialised counsellor.

The reality is that Lola’s sibling count is probably something closer to 200. We’ll never know the truth, and neither will the Australian fertility clinic, or the sperm bank that helped me create her.

It is stories like Gail’s that make me incredibly determined to see reform in the ACT and to see the rights of the child front and centre of legislative reform. Thank you.

Children and young people—out of home care

MRS KIKKERT (Ginninderra) (5.36): I wish to briefly respond to Minister Stephen-Smith’s statement, tabled earlier today, regarding the new out of home care strategy. In it, the minister speaks about embedding family-led decision-making. This sounds great. Across the world, genuine reform of child protection systems has required a fundamental shift in how decisions are made. Placing the family at the centre of the process and empowering the family to construct solutions is essential.

At the same time, the minister, in her statement, stated that fundamentally child protection is “a system that involves one group of people making decisions about the lives of other people—children and young people, their families and carers”. This exact same line can be found in the executive summary of Next Steps for Our Kids. To be blunt, Madam Speaker, these two things do not go together. Either this Labor-Greens government is serious about embedding family-led decision-making in child protection matters or it believes that child protection is fundamentally about government continuing to make those decisions.

After having carefully read the updated strategy, earlier this week I sought the opinion of some academic experts who focus on child protection reform. Their response was:

This document reflects a fundamental lack of understanding about power sharing and suggests a government that wants to appear reform-minded even as it doubles down on precisely what needs changing.

Needless to say, I share their concern. Those whom I consulted also pointed out that Next Steps includes commitments to implement recommendations that are, in many cases, six or even more years old. “It appears they are sitting still,” one commented. Indeed, this Labor-Greens government seems to have no appetite for reform that goes beyond the edges of the system.

On this point, I note that at the end of her statement the minister provides an update on what has been done so far in relation to my motion from May last year regarding

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