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  • Rikki Lambert

Defence of girls' sport steals Australian election spotlight

Transgender athlete Lia Thomas' dominance of a recent US NCAA swim meet has reignited debate

Prime Minister Scott Morrison reiterated his support on Monday for Tasmanian Liberal senator Claire Chandler's push to allow sporting clubs to refuse to allow transgender participants in girls' sport.

Speaking on ABC radio, Mr Morrison said:

"I think Claire Chandler's also been outspoken and brave on these issues. I share their views. We will have more to say about that at another time, if I do, I will. We will deal with that another time."

Federal Labor leader Anthony Albanese told Fairfax media the Prime Minister should focus on doing his job and not on the transgender debate. Mr Albanese told a Tuesday press conference:

"(Mr Morrison) seems to be unaware that it's already covered by the Sex Discrimination Act, sports already control these things."

Transgender advocacy group Just.Equal called for debate during the election period on issues that matter to trans people, with spokesperson Sally Goldner AM urging:

"We reject the constant raising of faux culture war issues that fail to take our interests into account and at times showing blatant disregard for our health, wellbeing and lives, often in ways that promote ridicule or hatred."

Just.Equal is referring to one of global politics' 'culture wars' which recently saw the US state of Utah passing a ban on transgender youth athletes playing on girls' teams, overriding a veto and joining 11 other states with similar laws.

On Tuesday, South Australian Liberal lead senate candidate Simon Birmingham told ABC radio:

“What we have is that there are some sporting bodies or women’s sporting bodies who are keen to ensure the safety or integrity of their competitions that should be respected as a genuine consideration on their part.
“It’s equally important to ensure that the rights of individuals and the rights of individuals of different gender identities are also respected and considered.”

Family Voice spokesman Greg Bondar said on Tuesday:

“Can we please have clarity as to what the government will do to prevent biological men playing in sports with biological women? The lobbying of AFL and NRL women’s sport by trans athlete groups must be rejected in the interest of real women."

Christian Schools Australia Director of Public Policy, Mark Spencer said on Tuesday:

"Women and girls across Australia deserve to know clearly where the parties stand on ensuring that single sex sport can continue in the future without concerns about litigation.
"Claims by the Opposition Leader and some Government Senators today that existing provisions in the Sex Discrimination Act adequately address the concerns of women and girls clearly demonstrate a lack of understanding."


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