Kiefel CJ, Bell, Gageler, Keane, Nettle and Gordon JJ
Edelman J (dissenting)
The appellant was a friend of the first respondent however, at no time were they in a relationship. In 2006, the appellant provided his semen to the first respondent with the intention that he would be the father of the child and provide support and care for her. The appellant was listed as the child’s father on her birth certificate.
Following the birth of the child, the first respondent entered into a same-sex de facto relationship with the second respondent. The child lived with the first and second respondent. The appellant spent regular time with the child and provided financial support for the child in the areas of health, education and general welfare and was described by the primary judge as having an ‘extremely personal relationship’ with the child.
In 2015, the first and second respondents wanted to relocate from Australia to New Zealand with the child. The appellant then instituted proceedings in the Family Court of Australia seeking orders for shared parental responsibility, to restrain relocation of the child and to spend time with the child on a fortnightly cycle.
The decision in this case turned on the intentions of the appellant and the first respondent when the child was conceived and the appellant’s subsequent care and support for the child.
The Court’s comments regarding sperm donors makes it clear that without the intention and material facts identified in this case, others who provide biological material may fall short of the ordinary meaning of ‘parent’.