Adoption by same sex couples Review, VANISH Submission March 2015
Adoption Act 1984
As part of the Apology of 25 October 2012 when the Victorian Parliament formally apologised 'to mothers, fathers, sons and daughters' who were profoundly harmed by past adoption practices, the Victorian Government announced a number of additional measures to better respond to the needs of people who were affected by adoption practices including amendments to the Adoption Act 1984.
The following changes took effect on 1 July 2013.
- Access to Identifying Information. Natural parents will be able to receive identifying information about their adult adopted children without the need for the adopted person's permission.
- A Contact Statement. An adopted person is able to regulate contact by lodging a contact statement that outlines the type of contact they wish to have with their natural parent.
- The Victorian Registry of Births, Deaths and Marriages is allowed to register the adoption of a child whose adoption was finalised in a Hague Convention country with the State’s Central Authority involvement, and to issue a birth certificate in respect of the child when an application is made.
Victorian Parliament – The Inquiry into Access by Donor-Conceived People to Information About Donors.
The Final report from the Inquiry was tabled in Parliament in March 2012. The Committee’s key recommendation was that the Victorian Government introduces legislation to allow all donor-conceived people to obtain identifying information about their donors.
The Report and more information about the Inquiry is available here: http://www.parliament.vic.gov.au/lawreform/article/1465
Assisted Reproductive Treatment Amendment (access by Donor-Conceived People to Information about Donors) Bill 2013
This Bill has been tabled in the Victorian Parliament by the Labor Party and is currently under debate in the Parliament. The Bill includes clauses enabling all donor-conceived people access to identifying information about their donor, contact vetoes for donors if they do not wish to be contacted, and the requirement for clinics and doctors to provide donor records. Penalties apply if contact vetoes are breached or if records are destroyed or tampered with. Read the Bill
Former wards of state who resided in government run homes/orphanages can access their records/file under the Freedom of Information Act 1982. Many non-government run homes/orphanages also created records of children in their care and they can be accessed by applying to the agency holding these records and they will be released in accordance with the principles of the Victorian Information Privacy Act 2000 http://www.austlii.edu.au/au/legis/vic/consol_act/ipa2000231/
Forgotten Australians do not have the same rights as adopted persons when applying to Registries of Births Deaths and Marriages for information about their parents.