Page 4389 - Week 14 - Thursday, 28 November 2013

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recognition of sex and gender. These guidelines, which took effect on 1 July this year, standardise the evidence required for a person to establish or change their sex or gender in personal records held by Australian government departments and agencies. Importantly, the guidelines stipulate that whenever a commonwealth agency is seeking sex, gender, or both, individuals should be given the option to select male, female or an X, to reflect that the person is of an indeterminate sex, intersex or does not wish to specify any category.

In addition to the legislation I am tabling today, I will table amendments to the government’s response to the Beyond the binary report. The amended government response takes account of these developments and further consultation with the community and provides a more robust statement of our commitment to equality.

Between March and November, the government engaged in further consultation with members of the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Intersex and Queer Community Council. These discussions were designed to inform this legislation with the views of people who do not identify as male or female or people who are transitioning between sexes. The ultimate goal of this bill is to ensure that sex and gender diverse people feel safe, secure and respected.

The bill changes the requirements for people who wish to change their sex on their birth certificate so that sexual reassignment surgery is no longer necessary. Under the existing law, as in other jurisdictions, a person is required to undergo surgery in order to register a change of sex. As set out in the Beyond the binary report, this requirement imposes a significant burden on people whose gender identity does not strictly match their biology.

These amendments enhance official recognition of a person’s chosen sex and clearly identify the evidence required in order to support the application to alter the register to record change of sex. In place of the sexual reassignment requirement, a person seeking to change a record of their sex must now show that they are either a biologically intersex person or that they have received appropriate clinical treatment. This is consistent with the Australian government guidelines and gives effect to LRAC’s recommendation that the requirements to change a record of sex be no more onerous than Australian Passport Office policy.

What constitutes appropriate clinical treatment is not defined in legislation but will, rather, be determined on a case-by-case basis by registered medical practitioners. This ensures that doctors and psychologists rely on medically substantiated practices and guidelines and use their qualified judgement to determine the appropriate standard of treatment. Sorry, Madam Deputy Speaker.

MADAM DEPUTY SPEAKER: It is quite fine. I would rather you do that than lose your voice altogether.

MR CORBELL: Indeed, I will need it today.

Mr Hanson: Losing his voice might not be such a bad thing.

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