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Parentage testing needs rules.

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Australian Democrats Press Releases

Senator Natasha Stott Despoja Democrats Senator for South Australia Australian Democrats spokesperson for Science and Research Australian Democrats spokesperson for Attorney Generals

Dated: 17 November 2006 Press Release Number: deyyvmdj Portfolio: Science and Research Related: Science & Technology

Related: Attorney Generals

Parentage testing needs rules

The Australian Democrats today called for any parentage testing to be strictly regulated.

"In line with the recommendations from the ALRC report, Essentially Yours (March 2003), parentage testing should be carried out with the highest technical and ethical standards," Democrats' Science and Attorney-General's Spokesperson Senator Natasha Stott Despoja said.

"Regulations should be put in place governing accreditation standards for testing centres and consent provisions for adult donors and either the mature child or those with parental responsibility for the child. The results of testing should only then be admissible in court where these regulations have been strictly followed.

"These tests, irrespective of the results, can undermine trust in a family unit so testing centres should also inform participants of the availability of counselling, both at the time that the tests are undertaken and when the results are made available.

"This is by no means an easy issue and appropriate regulations are vital to protect the interests of all parties, but most especially those of the children," Senator Stott Despoja said.

Last year, Senator Stott Despoja moved an amendment to the Family Law Amendment Bill 2005 to implement ALRC recommendations relating to parentage testing. These included: - regulation of DNA identification test kits; - accreditation of laboratories conducting DNA tests; - ensuring parentage testing meets the highest technical and ethical standards; - preventing parentage testing reports from being admissible in family law proceedings unless the testing complies with regulations; - ensuring children's consent to genetic testing is obtained where the child is over 12 years of age; and - in relation to younger children, ensuring genetic testing can only be conducted with the consent of all reasonable parties.