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  • PM queries sex-swap case
  • By Jason Frenkel
  • The Herald Sun
  • 16/04/2004 Make a Comment
  • Contributed by: admin ( 100 articles in 2004 )
PRIME Minister John Howard has questioned a Family Court decision to allow a 13-year-old girl to become a boy.

The girl, a ward of the state known as "Alex", won permission this week from Family Court Chief Justice Alistair Nicholson to begin irreversible sex-change treatment.

The landmark legal decision has provoked outrage among doctors, ethicists and sex-swap opponents, who claim that Alex is too young to be able to make such a significant decision.

Now, the Federal Government could intervene in a case that Mr Howard described as unusual.

"It's a very difficult, and from a personal point of view, a very traumatic and sad situation," Mr Howard said.

"It's a hard one, this . . . very difficult because there is a great deal of psychological sadness and unhappiness."

Mr Howard stopped short of criticising Justice Nicholson's decision to allow Alex to start hormone treatment, but said a lot of Australians would think the court should not be making such a decision.

The PM said he was waiting for advice on Justice Nicholson's decision before considering whether the Federal Government might intervene.

Asked whether he believed the court had gone too far, Mr Howard said: "I'm tempted to say yes.

"On the other hand, the person involved is a ward of the state, and as to the jurisdictional role of the Family Court, I'm seeking some further advice.

"My initial reaction as a person is, 'Is this the sort of thing that a court should be doing?' "

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