The Federal Finance Minister, Penny Wong, and her partner, Sophie Allouache, welcomed their first child on December 11. Their daughter is named Alexandra, which is Sophie’s middle name. Alexandra was born 8 am at Adelaide Women’s and Children’s Hospital weighing 3.23 kg (7 pounds).

Penelope “Penny” Wong is an Australian Labor Party Senator for South Australia and the Federal Minister for Finance and Deregulation. Penny is the first openly gay member of the Australian federal cabinet, and the first born in Asia (she was born in Malaysia, and moved to Australia as a child). Sophie is a public servant, and she and Penny have known other since they were students at Adelaide University.

Senator Wong announced in August that her partner Sophie was pregnant, explaining that they were on an IVF programme and using a donor who was known to them, but who would not be identified for privacy reasons. She will be taking plenty of time off to get to know her new daughter.

Alexandra was born a week after Labor debated the issue of gay marriage at their annual conference – a debate led by Senator Wong. Early next year, the Labor MP Stephen Jones will introduce a private member’s bill to legalise gay marriage. Labor MPs will be allowed a conscience vote but Coalition MPs will not.

However, Penny Wong has stressed that Alexandra’s birth is not a political statement: ”You have a child because you want a family and you want to have the opportunity of raising a child together.”

(Story and photo from The Daily Telegraph and Sydney Morning Herald, December 14 2011)