Rare bipartisanship in Canberra may allow overseas adoption

AUSTRALIAN families hoping to adopt a child from overseas could soon be able to do so, thanks to a rare moment of bipartisanship in Canberra this week.

The Abbott government, in tense negotiations to pass its five-month old budget, brought its proposed laws on inter-country adoption forward for debate.

The bills, which have support from the Opposition, would allow a swifter adoption process from countries that are not signatories to the Hague Convention.

But Prime Minister Tony Abbott has promised the same arrangements would be in place, including a need for new countries to meet the same standards.

"Under the amendments to be made by this bill, children will be able to be granted citizenship as soon as the adoption is finalised," he had said.

"They will then be able to travel to Australia on an Australian passport, with their new families, as Australian citizens."

The bill is yet to be debated in the Senate, but has wide support among the crossbench, and Labor.

Queensland Labor MP Graham Perrett on Monday welcomed the bills during debate, saying the 129 intercountry adoptions last year made up form 38% of all adoptions during 2012-13.

This was despite a 13% fall in such adoptions since 2011-12, which Mr Perrett said were due to "inconsistent rules, costs and the lengthy wait".

The bill, he said, would allow children from Taiwan, Ethiopia and South Korea to be recognised as Australian citizens, with more countries to follow. - APN NEWSDESK



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