New Bill Modernises Birth Certificates

Published Friday, 02 December, 2022 at 11:41 AM

Attorney-General and Minister for Justice, Minister for Women and Minister for the Prevention of Domestic and Family Violence
The Honourable Shannon Fentiman

The Palaszczuk Government has introduced legislation to modernise Queensland’s birth certificates to better recognise our diverse community.

Attorney-General and Minister for Justice Shannon Fentiman said the Births, Deaths and Marriages Registration Bill 2022 will ensure registration services remain relevant, responsive, and contemporary.

“We are committed to strengthening the legal recognition of trans and gender diverse people, and better recognising contemporary family and parenting in our modern society,” the Minister said.

Under the new legislation, trans and gender diverse people would no longer be required to have undergone sexual reassignment surgery to formally register a change of sex.

“The current Act unnecessarily medicalises the recognition of a person’s lived identity,” Minister Fentiman said.

“In addition, surgery is not always appropriate for trans people, and can be inaccessible and unaffordable as it is not covered by Medicare.

“This is about making sure that a person’s legal identity matches their lived identity, and will bring Queensland into line with most other jurisdictions,” she said.

The Bill establishes two pathways to alter the record of sex of a child aged under 16, namely by parents or a guardian applying directly to the registrar where particular criteria are met, or through the Children’s Court.

“A key element of both of these pathways involves an assessment of the child by a developmentally informed practitioner who has an established, professional relationship with them,” Minister Fentiman said.

“The new legislation will also allow both parents to be registered as either ‘mother’ or ‘father’, which currently is not the case.

“A birth certificate has deep social and emotional resonance for people. The Bill will ensure that same-sex and gender diverse parents are able to record a descriptor on their child’s birth certificate that correctly reflects their parenting role.”

Consultation during the drafting of the Bill was largely informed by roundtable discussions with key stakeholders from advocacy, legal and health organisations.

All other states and territories, apart from NSW and WA, have removed the legislative requirement for a person to have undergone a reassignment procedure to change their sex on their birth registration.