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Speech: Assisted Reproductive Treatment (Posthumous Use of Material and Donor Conception Register) Amendment Bill

The Hon. T.A. FRANKS: I rise on behalf of the Greens to support the Assisted Reproductive Treatment (Posthumous Use of Material and Donor Conception Register) Amendment Bill 2023. I do so noting that my colleague the Hon. Rob Simms carries this portfolio and, indeed, carries a commitment to ensuring that we, as parliamentarians, do the best we can in this particular area. It is an emerging area that affects many tens of thousands of people in our nation. It is estimated that there is between 20,000 and 60,000 people in Australia who are donor conceived, and the corollary of that is those families and loved ones and potential relationships and so on, so the number affected by this legislation is far greater than that.

This bill legalises the posthumous use of ovum or embryos, as is already done with sperm. It allows donor-conceived children to access certain types of donor information. Genetic testing has, of course, changed the landscape when it comes to anonymous donor information, given that people can often identify their biological parent through online platforms after undergoing DNA testing in this day and age.

It actually does reflect in this bill that the government has committed to making counselling and intermediary support services available to any donors prior to 2004 who did believe that they would remain anonymous, and it allows for an option to have donor conception status or donor information added to birth certificates.

This bill speaks to the rights of the child and it is in line with changes that have been made in Victoria as far back as 2017. My understanding is that this has come from the call for access to donor information because people do have a right to know. They have a right to know their medical information, their genetic heritage, who their siblings are—especially when forming romantic relationships—and they have a right to know their true identity.

Donor Conceived Australia believes that the vast majority of adults who were donor conceived from the 1970s onwards still have not been told that they are, and many are now actually finding out by accident when undertaking DNA testing using home kits.

The Greens will support the passage of this legislation today. We note the work of the many contributors to this piece of legislation, including the minister, and the Hon. Connie Bonaros' words that certainly reflect the depth and breadth of the efforts that have gone into this and the impact that this will have on the community.

The Greens, similarly, will not be supporting the Liberal amendments today. I think the Hon. Connie Bonaros, when she referred to the balance that has been sought here, goes some way as well to the Greens' motivation for our position on that, and we look forward to the passage of the bill this afternoon.

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Speech: Parliamentary Committees Bill

April 12, 2024

The Hon. T.A. FRANKS: I rise to speak to the Parliamentary Committees Bill 2024, a bill that provides for the establishment of various parliamentary committees, defines the powers and duties of those committees, makes related amendments to various acts and repeals the Parliamentary Committees...

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