Christian Porter rules out bringing in toilet laws “at this stage”

Attorney General Christian Porter has been asked if Australia needs laws that gives cisgender women exclusive rights to bathrooms and changerooms, and his first answer didn’t rule out the introduction of legislation in this area. When pressed on the issue a spokesperson for his department said it was not under consideration “at this stage”.

The Attorney General was appearing on the Sky News program Credlin which is hosted by Peta Credlin, who was the Chief of Staff to former Prime Minister Tony Abbott. Credlin asked Porter if following the collapse of the anti-discrimination action against Tasmanian senator Claire Chandler he’d be looking to bring in tough bathroom laws at a federal level.

“Do you think there needs to be Federal, Commonwealth level clarity about the right of women to have the exclusive youth of women’s toilets?” Credlin asked.

“I don’t see anything particularly remarkable about Claire’s observations.” Porter said, before pivoting to discuss the Tasmanian Anti-Discrimination Commission.

“The central problem here is  that the relevant legislation is Tasmania so broad in what it allows someone to complain about, in terms of what another person has said as a public statement or observation, that it is susceptible to complaint on such a unimaginable broad scale that it needs reform.”

“I mean the Tasmanian government basically has an Equal Opportunities Act that has a broader scope for complaint than any act anywhere else in Australia, and notoriously so, to the extent that this was the same type of provisions that allowed complaints against Catholic Bishops in Tasmania to arise for having the temerity to support the traditional view in the Catholic system, and Catholic eyes, of marriage.”

“I just think this legislation is causing enormous and repetitive troubles, and I would have thought that is something that the Tasmanian government would want to have a look at and fix up frankly,” Porter said.

While viewers were left with no doubt about what his thoughts were on Tasmania’s Anti-Discrimination laws, they were no clearer on whether the Attorney General thought Credlin’s suggestion of a law that forces people to use the bathroom of their assigned sex at birth was a good idea or completely impractical.

OUTinPerth contacted the Attorney General’s office and asked if Christian Porter would confirm he was not considering the legislation as proposed by Peta Credlin. A spokesperson said it was not something the Morrison government was considering legislation for “at this stage”.

“The Government’s immediate priorities are protecting the health of all Australians and addressing the unprecedented economic consequences of the coronavirus pandemic. The Government is not proposing to bring forward legislation about the use of public bathrooms and change facilities at this stage.” the spokesperson said.

Earlier today Prime Minister Scott Morrison appeared on Sydney radio station 2GB where he described Senator Chandler’s comments stating that female toilets were designed to be used by people of the female sex of as “common sense”. The Prime Minister said he thought there was nothing wrong with the Senator’s comments.

“No, that’s commonsense. And I would urge a more commonsense approach on how some of these agencies operate. I mean, the Tasmanian one has had form on other issues in the past. I think people just expect commonsense in these areas,” Prime Minister Scott Morrison said.

OIP Staff

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