I rise to speak to the Adoption (Review) Amendment Bill. I indicate that I will be supporting the bulk of this bill as per the Liberal Party position. There are many aspects of this bill which have merit and should be welcomed. These include the sensible reforms in the areas of adult adoption, retention of the child's name and the discharging of adoption orders. The Hon. Mr Wade has carriage of this bill for the Liberal Party and he has already spoken to the detail.
There are a few issues with certain clauses that I wish to address—firstly, the issue of an adoptee's right to veto information requests by birth parents. The honourable member for Adelaide in another place negotiated with the government on an amendment which protects the legislated privacy of individuals adopted prior to what is termed 'open adoption', that is, those adopted prior to 17 August 1989. The government's amendment, as it now appears in clause 19, gives power to the chief executive to determine whether it is appropriate for information not to be released based on whether the person was adopted prior to 17 August 1989. An astute question was raised by the member for Adelaide regarding whether this determination by the chief executive is subject to appeal.
The minister resolved to discuss this with the Attorney-General and to communicate the determination to this place. My question to the Minister for Sustainability, Environment and Conservation is whether the decision is subject to appeal and what the mechanism for appeal is. I would like this to be answered in his second reading summing up. Secondly, I address the issue of a qualifying relationship in regard to prospective adoptive parents. I have a clear and simple view: I believe that every child has a right to a mother and a father.
As the Hon. Mr Hood has pointed out in his contribution, this is a family arrangement, I think, which best serves a child and I believe it is also the way nature intends. However, I also acknowledge that there are family arrangements that fall short of this aspirational ideal for whatever reason, whether it be divorce or death, and those parents in those situations do an amazing job given the circumstances.
Adoptive parents are altruistic arrangements on the part of the parents insofar as they have biological interest in raising this child. However, there is an emotional need that is filled for both parents and child. Adoption mirrors the ideal state of the family unit and the law should reflect this. The state should not be removing children from deficient family situations where the child is unwanted only to put them in an equally deficient family situation where the needs of the child are not met. It is for this reason that I cannot support clause 5 in its current form.
I acknowledge that Liberal members are able to vote according to their conscience on this specific clause and, whilst it remains a substantive part of the bill, I cannot support it. My understanding is that the Hon. Mr Brokenshire may have an amendment seeking to change this clause, and I will look at that during the committee stage. I implore all members in this place to think carefully before voting.