On Air Now
Heart's Club Classics with Pandora Christie 7pm - 10pm
21 October 2019, 08:04 | Updated: 21 October 2019, 08:14
An Australian mum has been warned the name she gave to her newborn son could be illegal.
Choosing your child’s name can be a tricky business, but now one mum could run into legal trouble after giving her son an unusual moniker.
Claire Alexander-Johnston, from Byron Bay in Australia, chose the name 'Citizen' for her 10-day-old son, but was told by authorities it could be illegal to use.
Sharing the story with her 117,000 followers on Instagram, the Mummy blogger said she’d run into trouble while going through the naming process.
She wrote: "Sorry this naming business has taken so long! We had a bit of a curveball when we announced your name to our family, as someone pointed out, it's possibly illegal to name you that in Australia, as it falls loosely under the category of 'title' like 'King', 'Duke', 'Lord' or 'Captain'.
View this post on Instagram
Welcome to the family 💙 Citizen Sage Alexander-Johnston. 🌿 You are ten days old. Four delicious kilos already. My favourite child [as long as you never answer me back or disagree with me at all ever 🤪]. You have the colouring of your brother Atlas. The face of your brother Everest [Sochi], and ...well nothing of your sister Zephyr right now 😆 but she’s kind of her own person... [and actually the self-titled Boss of You] ...you’ll work that out pretty fast, don’t worry, I got you. Sorry this naming business has taken so long! We had a bit of a curveball when we announced your name to our family, as someone pointed out, it’s possibly illegal to name you that in Australia, as it falls loosely under the category of ‘title’ like “King” “Duke” “Lord” or “Captain”. We tried to change it. ‘Disco’ even came back into play! 😆 But nothing else felt right for you as a Libra, with a [very sensible and grounded] Capricorn moon. ⚖️ So Citizen you are, and always will be- a Citizen of the world. And amazing Sage 🌿- burning, cleansing, and healing. And in Ancient Greece- a wise man [but you know, no pressure 🤪]. And look, if you have some rough teenage years, and you just wanna hang in the garage punching bongs with “Benji and the crew”, you can always roll out “Zen” as a nickname, and I’ll bring you all snacks and we’ll get through it. Because I’m already so proud, and so in love with you Citizen Sage. You complete me. Welcome to the family, we’re so glad you’re here. ❤️ #citizensage
"We tried to change it. ‘Disco’ even came back into play! But nothing else felt right for you as a Libra, with a [very sensible and grounded] Capricorn moon. So Citizen you are, and always will be - a Citizen of the world."
Mum-of-four Claire's other children are named Atlas, Everest and Zephyr.
According to Australian law, names are considered unacceptable if they contentious. So this means names such as 'Commissioner', 'Inspector', 'Queen' and 'Citizen' could be considered unlawful.
The Births, Deaths and Marriages in Australia states: “The name might contain an official title, position or rank recognised in the community that might mislead others as to whether the person holds that title or rank officially.”
Claire's post definitely divided her followers, with many confused as to whether it had been approved by the state.
"Is this his registered name or was it not approved but you're calling him it anyway? Just wondering!!!,” asked one, while another said: "So has it been approved by the BGM yet?"
A third added: “Is his name really Citizen??”
In the UK, rules on baby names are a lot less strict with the General Register Office says there are no restrictions on parents, except in "exceptional" cases, such as a name which could be deemed offensive.