Surrogacy debate adjourns with legislation sent to committee

The epic speech from Liberal MP Nick Goiran has come to an end, or at least a pause, as the Surrogacy Bill is sent to the legislation committee for further scrutiny.

After speaking against the surrogacy bill for over 20 hours, the member for South Metro proposed the bill be referred to the Legislative Council’s legislation committee for review.

Goiran is the opposition’s lead speaker on the bill which would allow single men and gay male couples to access altruistic surrogacy. Goiran’s speech began in mid-February and extended over eight days of parliament, resulting in over 100 pages of transcription in Hansard.

Goiran said he was not delivering his filibuster speech because of his opposition to single men and gay male couples being able to start families, but because he was concerned about the government’s approach to introducing the legislation.

The McGowan government has argued that the laws need to be changed because they contravene the commonwealth Sex Discrimination Act, but have not put forward the legal advice they have received. Goiran has also criticised the government’s timing of the release of the Sonia Allen Review into surrogacy and reproductive technology in Western Australia.

While the review, which covers a wide range of issues beyond the changes outlined in the current legislation before parliament, has now been released – Goiran argued that members need more time to consider the 600+ page report.

Goiran proposed sending the legislation to the legislation committee for further review.  Sue Ellery, the government’s leader in the Legislative Council, failed to get support for the committees terms of reference to be limited to just the interaction between the proposed legislation and the commonwealth laws.

The committee is expected to report back later in the year.

Nick Goiran has been criticised for his epically long speech, which has reportedly cost over $30,000 for each day of parliament’s time.

Liberal leader Dr Mike Nahan has described the impasse as Goiran showing his passion on the issue of surrogacy, Labor members have labeled it as “selfish”.

“The Parliament isn’t just there for one person to make a contribution,” Premier Mark McGowan said. “When contentious issues come along everyone needs to be able to have a say and then it goes to the vote.”

Liza Harvey, the Deputy Leader of the Liberals, defended Goiran’s action saying that the government had made the decision to allow his speech to drag on by putting the legislation up for discussion each day.

“The Government could end this,” she told The West Australian. “There are other pieces of legislation they could bring forward while Nick considers the report.”

OIP Staff




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