Weekly Snapshot Issue: 33 – 21 June 2019

Case we’re discussing…

You’d be living under a rock if you didn’t hear about the recent High Court decision that a gay man who donated his sperm to his lesbian friend was deemed a legal father and not just a sperm donor.

The father submitted that he had entered into an agreement with his friend that he would agree to donate his sperm on the condition that he’d be involved in the child’s life as a father and that he’d provide financial support and physical care. The parties carried on with this arrangement for many years and had gotten on well (the child spend regular time with the father and called him “daddy”) until the mother and her partner decided that they wanted to relocate to New Zealand with the child.

The father initiated proceedings in NSW in the family court to restrain the mother and her partner from removing the child from Australia and thereby severing his relationship with the child. He was successful in his application as the Family Court found that it was in the best interests of the child for her to remain in Australia and continue the relationship with her father. On appeal however, the court found that pursuant to NSW State Law ( Status of Children Act 1996) he was simply a sperm donor and therefore did not have the rights of a legal parents.

When the father appealed to the High Court, his legal team argued that NSW law should not be applied and pressed on the application of the Commonwealth Family Law Act. The High Court ultimately found in the father’s favour and reinstated the Family Court’s decision on the basis that it was in line with the child’s best interests ( always the paramount question in family law proceedings).

The majority of the judges explained that the term “sperm donor” suggests that the biological father would have done no more than provide his semen to facilitate the conception; on the understanding that he is to have nothing to do with any child born from the procedure. In this case; these were not the facts.

The eventuating orders provided that whilst the mother and her partner could have parental responsibility; they must consult with the father and remain in NSW; otherwise as agreed in the future between them.

Question we’re pondering regularly…

“How have I been complicit in creating the conditions I say I don’t want?”

We recently heard this question asked in an interview with Jerry Colonna – Venture Capitalist & CEO Coach. It is a simple question but really hit a nerve and has become somewhat of a mantra to reach for whenever we feel frustrated to reinstate some perspective and motivate us to take action.

Book that has haunted us…

Sometimes whilst doing the most mundane things (like when we’re watering indoor plants or sorting through our wardrobe – we know it’s hard to believe that we’re not always living the glamorous Suits law life) – we are reminded of a book we had enjoyed in 7 th grade, or on a rainy day during our lunch break many years ago. One such book was “The Memory of Salt” by Alice Melike Ulziger.

From memory; the story was quite strange and otherworldly and left a surreal impression… the best type of stories we say. The following excerpt is from the publishers’ site:

Ali’s father is a Turkish circus musician performing in Kabul when Ali’s mother, a young doctor from Melbourne, who has trained in Australia’s outback regions, meets him outside the circus tent. Their courtship takes them from Afghanistan across Iran to Turkey and London, where Ali is born, and then to Melbourne. Baba plays the trumpet, the saz, the flute, hears voices that urge him to violence, sees angels in the skies and jinns in the street, and inscribes lines from the Qur’an on the walls of his room, and across the suburb. Ülgezer offers a remarkable portrait of this tormented visionary, intoxicated with hashish and Sufism, who wrecks the family, but is also, for Ali, an enchanted being.

Leunig cartoon we love…

Leunig never fails to deliver; enjoy this little gem. Hopefully it inspires you to do more than just groan and sigh.

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