Friday, 8 September 2006

The Great Passport Fiasco : September 8th Edition

No, not an answer to my request under Section 13, this one's the answer to my request for a Ministerial Determination back in July.

6 September 2006

Ms Zoe Ellen Brain
(address 1)
(address 2)

Dear Ms Brain

Thank you for your email fated 26 July 2006 to the Minister for Foreign Affairs, requesting an Australian passport be issued showing your gender as female although the change of name certificate issued by the Registrar for Births, Marriages and Deaths (RBMD) indicates your gender as male, I have been asked to reply on behalf of the Minister.

Section 8 of the Australian Passport Act 2005 (the 'Act') provides that before issuing an Australian passport to a person the Minister must be satisfied as to the person's Australian citzenship and identity. The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (the Department) has developed processes to ensure that this requirement is met.

Persons born overseas who have undergone gender reassignment surgery, and who apply for a full validity passport to be issued in their new gender, are required to provide medical certificates from two registered medical practioners confirming they have undergone this surgery. Provided the circumstances comply with relevant legal requirements in Australia (for example, the person is not married), consideration is given to recording their new gender in the Australian passport. Persons who have not undergone gender reassignment surgery may be issued with a Document of Identity (DOI) with limited validity which does not specify the gender of the holder.

As you have not undergone gender reassignment surgery, you may be eligible for a DOI with a limited validity which would include your name change. This would enable you to travel overseas in November for the specialist medical treatment you require. Please let us know if you wish to pursue this option.

Yours Sincerely

Bob Nash
Acting Executive Director
Australian Passport Office


1. Since according to Medicare Australia, I am female, and actually being given treatment for "moderate to severe androgenisation of a non-pregnant female", the only gender *reassignment* surgery (as opposed to gender *affirmation* surgery) I could have would be female to male.

The reason I have to travel overseas is because, although gender reassignment surgery is available in Australia, the reconstructive surgery I require is not.

2. "Provided the circumstances comply with relevant legal requirements in Australia (for example, the person is not married)".... So I have to get divorced????

3. "consideration is given" as opposed to a positive entitlement.

4. A DOI with "limited validity" (as opposed to a Full Passport with limited validity)

And if you look at the original request, the reply ignores virtually all of the issues raised.

I hope they don't consider this a reply to my section 13 request, because it certainly isn't a "a statement in writing setting out the findings on material questions of fact, referring to the evidence or other material on which those findings were based and giving the reasons for the decision.". Because the only document it mentions is a change-of-name-certificate, not the Medicare statement or UK passport.

And now I have a new citizenship certificate, I could make a new application without the damning change-of-name certificate being relevant. That may be my next step.

Oh this is so silly. People playing games, ignoring reality, dodging questions.

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