Animal Justice Party parts ways with candidates over transgender views

The Animal Justice Party (AJP) this week announced they were parting ways with two of their candidates who expressed views about transgender people which the party said did not align with their values.

“Recently, there were AJP candidates who used their personal social media platform to express their views on some transgender issues in a way which we believe was not in line with the AJP’s Core Values.

“When it became clear that differences were irreconcilable, the candidates resigned from the AJP and are no longer members. The AJP unreservedly apologises for the harm this matter has caused.” the party said in a statement.

As the cut-off dates for nominations for the election has passed both will still appear on the ballot paper on election day. The party asked supporters to double-check the person in their local area was listed on their website.

“As nominations have closed and the Australian Electoral Commission is printing the ballot papers, there is no process available to remove their names from the ballot. So while ‘Animal Justice Party’ will appear on the ballot, if they are not on our list of candidates they are not AJP members or candidates.” the party said.

The party highlighted that it had a policy on gender equality, and remained supportive of transgender people.

The party said their official position was one which “celebrates the substantive contributions and achievements of women and gender-diverse persons. We are confident that this binding position will help AJP members, candidates and supporters work towards a society where all people are affirmed and valued.”

The two candidates who had left the party later publicly identified themselves. Linda McCarthy is running for the Queensland seat of Forde, while Sue Clarke appears on the ballot as the AJP candidate in Rankin. The seat of Forde is currently held by the LNP’s Bert van Manen, while the seat of Rankin is held by Labor’s Shadow Treasurer Jim Chalmers.

In a Facebook post Clarke told supporters why she’d resigned from the party after party officials raised concern over articles McCarthy had shared on her social media pages, and that Clarke had subsequently ‘liked’.

Clarke said that both she and McCarthy had concerns about transgender women’s access to competitive sport, and changes to laws that allow transgender people to self identify. Clarke said neither candidate was transphobic.

The articles shared included a report from Sky News and an opinion piece published in The Age newspaper that discussed the furor around comments made by Greens councilor Rohan Leppert.

In the post Clarke said the pair had been treated unfairly by the party and were being cancelled for simply sharing or liking articles.

“The whole process has been unprofessional throughout, we have been bullied and intimidated.” Clarke said, sharing that she had resigned from the party because of the way she had been treated. The candidate described the Animal Justice Party as “feeding a handful of angry trolls with an agenda filled with hate.”

Speaking to the podcast TERF Talk Down Under McCarthy told hosts Angie Jones and Stassja Frei she had been “hammered” by people claiming that “Trans women are women”.

McCarthy highlighted that when the friends both signed up to be candidates for the election the Animal Justice Party did not have a policy on gender and it had only been released three weeks before the election was called.

“To me it was a dog whistle to the trans community” McCarthy said of the party’s policy. With neither candidate agreeing with the new policy, the disagreement about social media posts, and concern over the internal processes to address the issue; both McCarthy and Clarke tendered their resignations as candidates.

“They said we each had to make a public apology and we had to undertake gender training. So we said – ‘no, goodbye.'” McCarthy said.

OIP Staff

This article was originally posted on 7th May 2022, it was updated on 13th May 2022 in response to concern from Sue Clarke that it did not accurately reflect that both she and Linda McCarthy had resigned from the Animal Justice Party.

To improve the accuracy of the report the title has been revised and additional comments from both Clarke and McCarthy have been added. OUTinPerth apologises for the lack of clarity. 

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