letter sent
response rec'd
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Hon Justice Strickland's Judgment attached

Cathy Rainsford

Cathy Rainsford

Cathy Rainsford

Cathy Rainsford

Cathy Rainsford

Australian Attorney General.

A politician that could influence the thinking surrounding infant male circumcision overnight is the Australian Attorney General.

By administering the Australian Human Rights Commission, The Attorney General oversees four of the most powerful tools that could be employed to begin down the road of stopping non-medically indicated infant male circumcision forever.

From a legislative viewpoint The Sex Discrimination Act 1984 and the Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission Act 1984 could both seemingly be bought to bear on the states because of their discriminatory legislation that protects the genitals of females from birth but not males.

From the perspective of Australia's international treaty obligations, the Attorney could easily utilise The International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (which has a SPECIFIC clause regarding guaranteeing 'physical integrity' of every human, irrespective of age or sex) or The United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (which specifically prohibits "traditional practices prejudicial to the health of children", a provision that clearly includes genital mutilation).

How ironic that the current Attorney General is Ms Nicola Roxon (correction - not any more). Ms Roxon's reply to me, written as Minister for Health and Ageing and on behalf of the Prime Minister, demonstrates that she is most unlikely to be part of a solution to the problem of non-medically indicated infant male circumcision. You can find her letter under the tab of Julia Gillard.

My letter to the then Attorney General, Robert McClelland resulted from my finding a judgment that allowed a mother to protect her little boy from unnecessary circumcision. Justice Strickland, using the Australian Family Law Act (1975), ordered that the father NOT be allowed to circumcise his son contrary to the views of the child's mother. Justice Strickland's Judgment is AD 4887 of 2002.

My questions to the Attorney General centred on why the Australian Family Law Act has been religiously quoted as providing the justification for my son being circumcised without my consent and  yet Justice Strickland employed it to protect an infant in the same circumstance.

Ms Cathy Rainsford is the Principal Legal Officer within the Family Law Branch of the Attorney General's Department. Her reply makes interesting reading.

Justice Loughnan, in Judgment 2011 FAM CA853, is clearly of the view, unlike Ms Rainsford et al, that circumcision is NOT just another medical procedure - to be seen through the prism of prescribing antibiotics for an infection. Justice Loughnan quarantines the potential circumcision of the child at the centre of the hearing and mandates that if the parent being awarded custody even contemplates the act, the other parent must be given six weeks notice so as to have an opportunity to intervene.

This interpretation is IN STARK CONTRAST to the laissez faire, first-in-best-dressed interpretation espoused by Ms Rainsford and, of course, the doctors.