The West

Robyn McSweeney wants surrogate checks.

Former child protection minister Robyn McSweeney has called for checks on those leaving Australia to bring back a baby, saying paedophiles have no place being able to procure a child "for their own sick purposes".

During an Upper House debate on surrogacy after the recent controversy involving baby Gammy and his twin sister, the Liberal MP said she did not believe paedophiles could be rehabilitated.

Ms McSweeney, who brought on the discussion yesterday, said it was impossible for a child sex offender to adopt but criminal checks were not done on intended parents before they left Australia to sign a contract with their surrogate.

"We have two little babies at present that show me that the law needs to change and soon," Ms McSweeney said. "I will not and cannot condone a convicted child sex offender living in the same house as his children.

"We need checks and balances on people who leave Australia for the sole purpose of bringing back a child."

Commercial surrogacy is illegal in Australia but paying an overseas surrogate is banned only in NSW, Queensland and the ACT.

Ms McSweeney said she did not oppose altruistic surrogacy but commercial surrogacy was a legal minefield because of different laws in different States.

She wants surrogacy discussed at the Council of Australian Governments and all States and Territories to enact uniform laws.

It should be a whole of Australia approach and not just left to each State or there could be cross-border issues, she said.

Another former child protection minister, Labor's Sue Ellery, said it would be positive if COAG tackled the issue and the Federal Government entered arrangements with other countries.

The State Government also needed to make changes because its policy did not match current practices.

She said it was clear people pursued unregulated surrogacy overseas and this should be controlled with changes to WA laws. As it was, outcomes from unregulated overseas surrogacy were not good.

The West Australian

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