Friday, 27 July 2012

ABC story on the launch of Queenslanders for Equality:

Thursday, 26 July 2012

When I and others spoke at the launch of Queenslanders for Equality:

Tuesday, 24 July 2012

Standing up for equality

On Sunday I stood up with other Queenslanders such as Shelley Argent from PFLAG, Farmer Dave, and psychologist Paul Martin, and said that I would be taking a stand for equality.

If there has been one thing that has fired me up as a lawyer over the years, it has been when people have not been treated equally. We should all be presumed to be equal before the law, but unfortunately that does not always happen. Too often I have had to stand up for clients, because they have been oppressed by others- occasionally by laws, but more often by another person, for example, their violent ex.

The Queensland government is planning to reverse laws so that certain intended parents will not only no longer be eligible to be parents under surrogacy arrangements, but could be jailed for up to 3 years if they pursue their dream. In the words of one of my clients, it is a case of Government playing God. If passed, this will be the first time that I am aware of in the history of our country when rights that have been granted to a group have then been reversed- because of the characteristics of that group.

Don't get me wrong. I don't have anything against the Queensland Government. It was, after all, democratically elected. The Premier and I, for example, share a strong belief that domestic violence is wrong. He made sure, as Brisbane's Lord Mayor a couple of years ago, that funding was made available to enable a few White Ribbon Ambassadors including me to meet in Townsville to help give the Department of Communities feedback about the proposed domestic violence laws. Those proposed laws are now the Domestic Violence and Family Protection Act 2012, the last piece of legislation passed by the Bligh government, but with strong LNP support.

But I do have something against a policy that gives government the right to choose who can and can't be parents. It was because of that reason that I attended and spoke at the launch of Queenslanders for Equality. Shortly afterwards I discovered, to my surprise, that I had become the convenor! This was not a position I sought, but was thrust upon me. Now I have to do my best so that the rights of all can be protected.

Tuesday, 10 July 2012

Politics in the pub Thursday

On Thursday I will be speaking at the Brisbane Powerhouse in the Politics in the Pub debate: Gay Marriage: Do we want it? Do we need it?

Other speakers are:
• Shelley Argent - National Spokesperson, Parents, Families and Friends of Lesbians and Gays (PFLAG)
• Dr Sharon Dane – Deputy National Convener, Australian Marriage Equality, and UQ Psychologist
• Michael Ord – QLD President, Australian Family Association

The debate runs from 6pm to 8pm and is run by New Farm Neighbourhood Centre.

Monday, 9 July 2012

Courier-Mail publishes my comments

Last week I was interviewed by Brisbane's Sunday Mail for an article about a gay couple who had had twins through surrogacy, which would be an offence under the Queensland Government proposals.

I mentioned to the journalist as to my concerns about the proposed Queensland laws would fail the Sex Discrimination Act, and that they were therefore in my opinion futile. She was interested in that issue, and next thing I know it was today's lead article on page 3 of the Courier:

Wednesday, 4 July 2012

Appointment to leading surrogacy committee

Appointment to leading surrogacy committee

With a great deal of humility and honour, I have accepted an appointment as a member of one of the world's leading surrogacy committees.

I have been appointed as a member of the Executive Council of the American Bar Association's Family Law Section's Assisted Reproductive Technology Committee.

Despite the mouthful, this is the surrogacy committee of the American Bar Association, the world's largest, richest and most powerful lawyers' association in the world.

I have been appointed as one of two international members of the Executive Council, which is to run the ART committee. It is both humbling and a recognition by my international peers of my abilities.

The appointments come at a critical time, as there are currently moves to have a Hague convention to govern international surrogacy.

The council and committee are headed by Steve Snyder (pictured), a leading surrogacy lawyer from Minneapolis.