The rainforest edition of the Melbourne Hun had a real screamer of a headline this morning; "Sex Swap Cop":
A transsexual man who plans to become a woman has applied to join the Victoria Police.
The strapping, 188cm candidate has passed the early stages of the selection process to join the force.
I'm not sure what this story is doing on the front page or how it got there, but the report hints that there might be some differences of opinion between Police command and Victoria's Equal Opportunity Commission on the one side, and the Victoria Police Asociation on the other:
Victoria Police Association secretary Paul Mullett said he was stunned [sic] by the news.
"Clark Kent went into a phone box and came out as Superman. This person is apparently going to go into the police academy as a man and come out as a woman," Sen-Sgt Mullett said.
"The association will be interested to see what the Government and the Chief Commissioner's policy position will ultimately be on this application – particularly if it's successful."
Jon Faine picked up the story on his radio show this morning: some of the comment is included in this NEWS.com.au report. We also get some extended, bob-each-way comment from Paul the stunned Mullett:
"The view of the association is that we should listen to community reaction today," Sergeant Mullett said.
"The community should have some input into Victoria's police force so let's listen to the community voice and let them decide."
Sgt Mullett said he felt union members would initially be shocked by the news, but the important issue was how well a person does their job.
However, it doesn't look like the Victoria Police are going to be too concerned with what the "community voice" might have to say, at least at this stage:
Victoria Police human resources director Sanjib Roy said a formal application by a transsexual had been received and would be processed.
"We try to attract people with strong values, integrity, intelligence, compassion and life experience," he told Melbourne's ABC radio.
"And we want to make sure we don't discriminate on the basis of gender, sexuality, ethnicity, or religion as this would be contrary to equal opportunity laws."
Isn't it a bugger when the law gets in the way of running a police force that properly reflects community attitudes?
Update: ABC Online reports that Victorian Opposition Leader Robert Doyle has decided to make a complete idiot of himself on this issue.
Update Too: Giving Victorian Attorney General Rob Hulls a perfect opportunity to show just how complete an idiot.