Are we now shifting responsibility for adopted children offshore?
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It’s not just refugees being sent overseas. Prime minister Tony Abbott is prepared to hand over Australia’s obligations towards children to countries that are not party to the 1993 Hague Convention on Protection of Children and Co-operation in Respect of Intercountry Adoption. Proposed changes to the Australian Citizenship Act will make citizenship automatic for children adopted under bilateral arrangements with non-Hague countries. This means that adoptions will be finalised before they arrive in Australia. As soon as the papers are signed, children will be able to travel to Australia on an Australian passport with their new families. At first glance these changes sound fair, reasonable and benign, but the implications for intercountry adoption in Australia are serious. There are too many unanswered questions about this reform agenda.
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