The Rev Hon Fred Nile MLC, Leader of the Christian Democratic Party, has issued a scathing attack on fellow Members of Parliament in the wake of the review into DOCS by the NSW Auditor-General. The comments came in relation to the risks posed to children by the legalisation of same-sex adoption in early September 2010. Rev Nile said:
A great many Members of this Parliament should feel ashamed. This latest review confirms the concerns I raised during debate on the ‘Adoption Amendment (Same-Sex Couples) Bill 2010 (No2.)’ this past September. The best interests of children in foster care have been subverted for political ideologies.
The NSW Auditor-General has reported that there is a staffing shortage within DOCs. Not surprisingly, despite the efforts of staff, this has led to inadequate management and review of children in foster care.
These children often come from troubled broken homes where they have suffered or witnessed sexual assault, violence, emotional and psychological abuse. As such, state services must be extremely vigilant in mitigating any further risk to these vulnerable children.
However, when Parliament sought to pass a bill that allowed same-sex parents to directly adopt any foster child in their care, inherent risks were ignored. These risks related to the nature of the demographic being considered in the legislation, that of the Homosexual community.
This is a demographic that not only has significant problems with drugs, mental health, physical, emotional and sexual abuse, but an acute problem of non-disclosure and under-reporting of such. When staffing and funding shortages force child services to rely on self-disclosure and audits of medical and criminal records to assess potential foster carers and adoptive parents, we have a serious problem.
When I tabled research from the Australian Bureau of Statistics, La Trobe University, the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare, the Australian Institute of Criminology and the National LGBT Health Alliance, I was ignored or howled down. This research showed that in comparison to the Australian population as a whole, the Homosexual and Lesbian community is:
- Twice as likely to suffer from significant alcohol abuse,
- Twice as likely to abuse prescription drugs,
- Twice as likely to take Crystal Meth,
- Three times more likely to smoke Cannabis,
- Three times more likely to take Speed,
- Three times more likely to abuse Steroids,
- Three and a half times more likely to take Ecstasy,
- Nine times more likely to inject drugs like heroin, and
- Twelve times more likely to take GBH
Lesbian couples are twice as likely to be habitual smokers and twice as likely to suffer poor health. They are 80% more likely to suffer a “profound / severe long term health condition” and 30% more likely to be obese, leading to a much higher risk of hypertension, stroke and chronic congestive heart failure.
The Homosexual and Lesbian community as a whole is:
- Twice as likely to have no contact with family (three times for Lesbians),
- Twice as likely to suffer high to very high levels of psychological distress,
- Twice as likely to suffer an Anxiety disorder,
- Two to four times more likely to suffer some form of domestic abuse, with 78% of victims suffering emotional abuse, 40% suffering physical abuse and 40% suffering sexual abuse. Lesbians are significantly more likely to have their children directly involved or used in abuse cases,
- Five times more likely to be suffering from a Sexually Transmitted Infection,
- Eight times more likely to be currently suffering a depressive disorder. In one report, 86% of respondents stated that their depression was so bad they had problems retaining their employment.
Further, those in the community are:
- Three times more likely to have suicidal thoughts,
- Five times more likely to have made suicidal plans, and
- Five times more likely to have attempted suicide
Regardless of how one felt about Homosexual rights, this should have flagged considerable concern. The very demographic the legislation dealt with statistically suffers significant problems likely to be missed through the fostering and adoption process.
These additional risks to children were ignored. The only concern was this perceived injustice toward the homosexual community. The ideologues should be ashamed. They have effectively sacrificed these children on the altar of their political worldview. With an additional 700 children per year being added to the 7,000 NSW children already in foster care, I fear we will see a lot more cases like those of Ebony and Dean Shillingsworth.