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Monday, 30 November 2015
Page: 14190

Mr GOODENOUGH (Moore) (11:48): I rise to speak in support of this private member's motion moved by the member for Wright. I have listened to the various arguments raised by preceding speakers in this debate today. From a personal point of view, my mother was adopted as a child following the war in Singapore by a couple, Titus and Marjorie Smith, who also adopted another younger girl. They raised the two girls in a caring environment and ensured they had a good education and a fairly normal upbringing, which was the best in the circumstances.

Adopt Change organisation has been a strong advocate on the issue of increasing the adoption rate in Australia. I note the arguments raised in support; that there are over 44,000 children living in out-of-home care in Australia and there are 15,000 children in Australia who have been in out-of-home care for over two years and are not living with relatives or kin. On average, a child experiences six placements in foster care, which can be very disruptive to their development. Last year in Australia we had the lowest number of adoptions in history, with just 203 Australian and 114 intercountry adoptions.

Family breakdown and tragic circumstances can often leave children without necessary parental care. Very often, the children are traumatised and in need of care and stability in their lives. It is preferable to have children placed in more permanent secure living arrangements best replicating family life, which adoption can provide.

Adoption will reduce the need for government intervention and case management on a regular basis. There are many couples who are unable to have children and are very much genuinely wanting to adopt and care for children as an alternative to fertility treatments and surrogacy. I personally know of a number of very good foster carers in my electorate who are very dedicated and do a wonderful job caring for the children in their care, like their very own. Very often, they find it extremely difficult and heartbreaking to say goodbye when the children have to be moved on.

Institutionalised care can be very impersonal and disruptive to a child's development in terms of developing a sense of belonging, settling into a familiar routine, developing self-confidence and self-esteem. There must be high standards of screening with appropriate background checks to ensure that the adopted children are placed into loving families, where they will be cared for appropriately and not exploited or abused. I would only advocate adoption to traditionally married couples, as adopted children should have the right to a father and mother figure in their lives.

I fully support this motion calling for the federal government to present this issue to the Council of Australian Governments in order to create a national strategy that will facilitate local adoption in Australia. The system needs reform, and I would strongly advocate for the rate of adoptions within Australia to increase. I commend the motion moved by the member for Wright to the House.

Debate interrupted.