A mother sought urgent orders, within the Supreme Court’s parens patriae jurisdiction, to permit medical treatment of her child’s gender dysphoria.
Because the whereabouts of the child’s father were unknown, and the father was unaware of the mother and child’s location (against a background of family violence) it was not expedient to commence proceedings in the Family Court of Australia (which typically hears and determines applications of this kind). Lyons SJA granted the orders.
Although the media and those interested in transgender rights have described the decision as a “landmark”, the importance of the decision ought not be overstated.
In ex tempore reasons, her Honour underscored that applications for medical treatment orders for gender dysphoria in children should continued to be made and heard in the Family Court. Accordingly, absent special circumstances of the kind that existed in this case, the Supreme Court may be reluctant to entertain applications for orders of this kind in the future.
Matthew Hickey appeared for the mother, instructed by Minter Ellison.