Claire Chandler can’t name one Tasmanian sports club who want her bill

Senator Claire Chandler claims that her bill to prevent transgender women participating in sport is desperately needed, but she couldn’t name a single sporting group in her home state who support the bill.

Earlier this week Prime Minister Scott Morrison have his endorsement to Senator Chandler’s bill which would amend the Sex Discrimination Act, saying it had his full support. Fellow Liberal senator Hollie Hughes has also been a vocal supporter of the bill.

When Senator Chandler spoke to Leon Compton on ABC Radio in Tasmania though, she couldn’t name a single sporting organisation that had asked for the legislation to be amended.

Chandler said she had been contacted by people from across the nation who wanted to ensure that only cisgender women were permitted to play women’s sport.

“I have been contacted by people from across our state, across our country, women and girls and particularly parents, that are all concerned about our ability to protect women’s and girl’s rights to access single-sex sports.

“I don’t think this is just an issue at the sporting club or administration level, it’s an issue at the basic community and societal level. There are so many women and girls across this country who are concerned that they are not going to be able to have access to sport in a way that they have enjoyed for generations.”

Senator Chandler said she knew of hundreds of cases of women who had been “crowded out” of their sporting clubs and teams, but she was not willing to provide any specific examples of this occurring.

The politician also said she was unwilling to name any particular sports where the supposed problem was occurring.

“I’m not going to get into specifics here.” Senator Chandler said, repeating the claim that she’d been contacted by hundreds of concerned parents who had expressed concern about what they had experienced.

The senator said she had also spoken to sporting administrators, but again was unwilling to name any specific organisation.

“Is it possible, Claire Chandler, that this isn’t an issue at all, in the fact that you can’t name a single group?” Compton asked, with the senator responding that she was not willing to share any specific examples, but insisted the issue was an “absolute priority” for sporting clubs across the nation.

Senator Chandler said people only had to look at the case of American college swimmer Lia Thomas, who is transgender, to see why Australian laws needed to be changed.

“You look at what is happening with Lia Thomas in the United States, where this is a trans woman swimmer who is beating her female counterparts by seven seconds in the pool, that is just madness.” Senator Chandler said, saying there was also research from World Rugby showing that a transgender woman playing the sport increased the risk to female players.

Asked if her bill would also stop young transgender children from being able to play sport, Senator Chandler said there were other options that those children could explore such as playing a mixed gender team sport.

Later in the day Senator Chandler made an appearance on Sky News saying the reason she was not able to give specific examples of any sports, teams or specific cases because it would lead to “vitriolic abuse” being directed towards the people making the claim.

Senator Chandler said that while she had a duty to protect her sources, she could absolutely guarantee that women and girls across the nation were being forced out of playing sport due to concerns about transgender participants.

Graeme Watson 

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