The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) is considering changing its passport application forms to include the choice of ‘parent one’ and ‘parent two’, instead of mother and father.

Greens senator Sarah Hanson-Young welcomed the proposal and said she hopes DFAT will follow through with the change.

“It’s about time documents like passports reflected the diversity of families in Australia,” Hanson-Young said.

“It’s crazy that passport applications are made much more difficult than they need to be, simply because of outdated forms and other requirements.

“If implemented, this removes another form of discrimination and makes life that little bit easier for same-sex parents.”

DFAT said the proposal has come about from feedback from same-sex coupled parents who’ve had difficulty filling out passport forms for their children.

Victorian Gay and Lesbian Rights Lobby spokeswoman Sarah Rogan also spoke in favour of the proposal.

“It is always encouraging when the federal Government looks at these changes, especially as it’s been generated within the department,” Rogan told the Star Observer.
“This is not something lobby groups have been pushing for as a priority as far as I’m aware.

“Although this is a fairly minor bureaucratic change, using gender-neutral terms does make a difference to the lives of rainbow families.”

The changes are being considered as part of a plan to move to electronic enrolment forms for passports and follow news the British Home Office is expected to change its passport forms to include ‘parent one’ and ‘parent two’ alongside ‘mother’ and ‘father’ by the end of the year.

A similar change was made in the United States earlier this year.

A DFAT spokeswoman said no decision has yet been made on the change.

“All aspects of passport application forms are for future consideration in the context of DFAT’s Passport Redevelopment Program, which will not be rolled out for a couple of years,” she said.

“DFAT will consult closely with the Government on that program and any significant proposed changes to the passport process.”

Last month the the federal Government made it easier for sex and gender diverse Australians to get passports, with new guidelines stipulating sex-reassignment surgery is no longer a prerequisite to issue a passport in a person’s preferred gender.

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