Penny Wong and Sophie Allouache welcome baby girl
Federal Finance Minister Penny Wong and her partner Sophie Allouache are getting used to life as new parents, after announcing overnight that Allouache gave birth to a baby girl in Adelaide on Sunday, just a week after Wong had led calls for the Labor Party to give its backing to marriage equality.
The couple released a short statement along with a photograph of the thrilled-looking family to media last night, with Wong saying that while the birth is great news she would like their privacy to be respected.
“My partner Sophie Allouache and I are thrilled to welcome the arrival of our baby daughter Alexandra, born at the Women's and Children’s Hospital. Both mother and baby are happy and healthy.
“Our heartfelt thanks go to all the wonderful staff at the Women’s and Children’s Hospital, especially the Midwifery Group Practice,” Wong said.
“Like any family welcoming a new addition, we are looking forward to spending time at home together and ask for our privacy to be respected at this time.”
The couple's baby, conceived with the assistance of IVF and sperm from a donor known to the couple, arrived a fortnight earlier than expected.
Prime Minister Julia Gillard congratulated the new parents yesterday, the Sydney Morning Herald reports.
“I am thrilled for Penny and Sophie. This is wonderful news, and Alexandra is beautiful and a source of joy,” Gillard said.
Announcing the baby’s birth in August, Wong had said that she did not want to see something so “deeply personal and so lovely” used for a range of political and policy comment.
“The way I want to approach this in my own head has been to be very clear about the distinction between what is political and what is personal, what is my public life and what is my private life,” Wong told The Age at the time.
Addressing the ALP National Conference in Sydney in early December, the highly respected Finance Minister argued for Labor delegates to simply not treat gay relationships as somehow so different to those enjoyed by heterosexual couples.
“Do not ask us any longer to accept our relations being treated as lesser. Less worthy, less valued, simply because of the gender of our partner,” Wong said.
“I say to those who oppose change, there is nothing to fear from equality. Marriages between men and women are not devalued, nor made less secure by this change. It will not see fewer heterosexual couples marrying, nor will it make those marriages less likely to last.”
Earlier this week, Federal Opposition leader Tony Abbott argued that he would oppose a conscience vote for Coalition MPs on marriage equality partly on the grounds that “we respect the rights of children to at least start life with a mother and a father.”