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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2002 Week 7 Hansard (6 June) . . Page.. 1985 ..

Thursday, 6 June 2002

The Assembly met at 10.30 am.

(Quorum formed.)

MR SPEAKER (Mr Berry) took the chair and asked members to stand in silence and pray or reflect on their responsibilities to the people of the Australian Capital Territory.

Standing order 130

MR SPEAKER: Members, this morning Mrs Dunne lodged an MPI concerning the condemnation of the government for its inaction on the building of the Gungahlin Drive extension. Standing order 130 states that a matter on the notice paper must not be anticipated by a matter of public importance, an amendment or other less effective form of proceeding. Private members business order of the day No 13 listed on today's notice paper is entitled "Proposed timetable for the completion of the Gungahlin Drive extension". Having carefully considered the issues, I have concluded that the MPI would be anticipating debate on the item listed on the notice paper. I am therefore ruling Mrs Dunne's MPI out of order as it contravenes standing order 130.

Artificial Conception Amendment Bill 2002

Mr Stanhope , pursuant to notice, presented the bill and its explanatory memorandum.

Title read by Clerk.

MR STANHOPE (Chief Minister, Attorney-General, Minister for Health, Minister for Community Affairs and Minister for Women) (10.33): I move:

That this bill be agreed to in principle.

Mr Speaker, the Artificial Conception Amendment Bill 2002 has a simple purpose. That purpose is to extend the period of operation of the provisions of the Artificial Conception Act that give the Supreme Court power to make parentage orders in favour of the genetic parents of children born under surrogacy arrangements rather than the birth parents.

These provisions were included in the act in 2000 following the passage of a bill put forward as a private members bill. During the debate on that bill I moved a number of amendments, one of which was the inclusion of a sunset clause in the legislation. That sunset clause will come into effect on 1 July 2002, so that the genetic parents of children conceived on or after that date under a surrogacy arrangement will not be able to apply to the Supreme Court for a parentage order.

I sought to include the clause because the Labor Party had reservations, and still has reservations, about the process that had been pursued in relation to the development of surrogacy legislation in the ACT. To put it simply, we were concerned that the Legislative Assembly was legislating in a piecemeal fashion in response to emotional arguments rather than on the basis of empirical data or a reasoned community debate.

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