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Estimates: Asking when Queensland's registry laws will be updated to better include LGBTQ+ people

During Parliamentary Budget Estimates on Wednesday 3 August 2022, I asked about reforms to Queensland's Births, Deaths and Marriages Registry Act to better recognise LGBTQ+ people. 

You can read the Attorney-General's answers below or in the official Queensland Parliament Record of Proceedings (Hansard).

Mr BERKMAN: It was around 15 months ago that you responded to a petition from one of my constituents, Esther, around reforms to better recognise trans and gender-diverse people in the Births, Deaths and Marriages Registration Act. You initially said that the legislation would be introduced in 2021; it is now August 2022. Can we get an indication from you of when we are likely to see that legislation introduced?

Ms FENTIMAN: Yes, absolutely. I thank the member for the question. A key purpose of this review is to ensure that our registration services in Queensland remain relevant, responsive and contemporary, and that includes the consideration of arrangements which will allow trans and gender-diverse people to have their gender identity accurately reflected and affirmed on their birth certificate—I do acknowledge that this is such an important issue to many Queenslanders—and consideration is being given to reforms that have happened in other states. The reforms as considered will bring Queensland into line with pretty much every other jurisdiction. The reason for the delay is that we have had several round tables now—three. There has been some further feedback from LGBTIQA+ stakeholders and we continue to directly listen to their experiences and recommendations, so we have gone away and done some further work. There was the first round table in October last year and two further round tables this year, the latest one in May. There is now an exposure draft of the bill where we are directly consulting with stakeholders, and I hope to be able to introduce a bill in the next few months—certainly before the end of the year.

Mr BERKMAN: Thank you. As a quick point of clarification on that, are you able to confirm at this stage whether that legislation will specifically include provisions to remove surgery requirements? You have already reflected that it will include provisions around updating birth certificate gender markers.

Ms FENTIMAN: Really, we want Queenslanders’ lived identity to match their legal identity. Queensland is one of the only jurisdictions in the country that does require people to undergo gender reassignment surgery before changing that on their birth certificates. That is certainly one of the key reforms that we are continuing to consult on for this bill.

Mr BERKMAN: Will the changes be flexible enough to include non-binary people as well?

Ms FENTIMAN: We are doing a lot of consultation on that issue and we are looking at the reforms in other jurisdictions, particularly Victoria and Tasmania. That is the work we are doing now on the draft bill. We are continuing to work with stakeholders on those issues.

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