Claire Chandler hopes colleagues will support her push to allow discrimination exemptions in sport

While a lot of the discussion discrimination this week has focused around the recently introduced Religious Discrimination bill and long called for changed to the Sex Discrimination bill, Tasmanian Senator Claire Chandelier is hoping her coalition colleagues will voice support for her private members bill that will allow sporting bodies to discriminate against people who are transgender.

Senator Chandler has previously announced she plans to introduce a bill that would allow sporting organisations to define sex as the sex people were assigned at birth, a move that would stop people who are transgender from participating in sport.

“We all know that single sex sport for women and girls is a fundamental necessity and Commonwealth law should protect that, and I always find it a little odd that in 2021 while we’re talking about the importance of women rights and the importance of women’s safety, at the same time sporting clubs and sporting administrators can have legal action threatened against them, or taken against them, just for providing single sex sport for women.” Senator Chandler said on Sky News.

Host Peta Credlin asked if the Prime Minister’s Office and the Office of the Leader in the Senate had shown for support for the bill being brought on for debate. Credlin said the bill needed to be passed before the election was called.

“I’ve spoken with a number of my colleagues, including the leadership of my government and made sure they are aware of my intention and they know that this issue is important to me, and has been important to me for some time.” Senator Chandler said.

Senator Chandler said there had been several successful motions at a party level voicing support for her advocacy and the legislative pathway she was pursuing.

One person who is a big supporter of the proposed bill is Sky News host Peta Credlin who promised to question every coalition politician who appears on her program about their support for the bill.

“I will, when I’m talking to ministers on other issues, I will raise it so there is a push from the media, so the government give you priority, it’s got to get passed.” Peta Credlin said.

Senator Chandler highlighted a case in Western Australia where the parents of a young girl are challenging the rules which stop a teenage girl from playing in a boys team now that she has passed the  age of thirteen.  The politician said these rules recognized that males and females were physically different, and the same rules should apply to all people based on their birth sex.

LGBTIQA+ sporting groups voice their opposition to Senator Chandler’s proposal

LGBTIQA+ sporting groups in Western Australia voiced their opposition to Senator Chandler’s proposal

In a joint statement, released when Senator Chandler first proposed her new bill, multiple sporting groups voiced their opposition to the proposal saying more community education was needed about including people who are transgender is community events, and sport was one of the best tools for making this happen.

“As a collective sporting community Team Perth are strongly against any attempts from organisations or individuals to impede the inclusion of trans, gender diverse, non binary or intersex people from participating and excelling in sports.

“It is particularly concerning when our elected leaders actively seek to weaken Australia’s anti discrimination laws to exclude gender diverse people from sport and encourage further discrimination.

“While there is currently no draft Bill for us to scrutinise, Liberal Senator for Tasmania, Claire Chandler, has recently announced, at the start of Trans Awareness Week no less, that they will be introducing a Private Members Bill to alter Australia’s Sex Discrimination Act to allow teams, clubs or sports to actively discriminate against gender diverse players. This appears to be a deliberate and timely attempt to garnish attention during an important week for the trans and gender diverse community.” the group said in their open letter.

Anna Cook, Fremantle Cockburn Hockey Club Ladies Captain, said it was disappointing that there was a push to exclude some people from participating in sport.

“At an elite level there are already a number of national and international regulations that participants need to adhere to in order to compete. However, at a community level where participation and belonging are a fundamental aspect of sport in Australia, I find it disappointing that anyone would seek to find ways to exclude people further.”

Hunter Gurevich the Chairperson of TransFolk of WA said it was mystifying that Senator Chandler would choose this issue to be the focus of her time in parliament.

“It is mystifying that Federal Senators occupy themselves with attempts to promote discrimination. But we are consistently heartened by those in our own state who stand with us and work for meaningful inclusion.” Gurevich said.

The letter was issued by the Perth Scorpions Volleyball Club, Perth Pride Football Club, Perth White Pointers Water Polo club, Perth Frontrunners, Perth Rams Rugby Club, Perth Hornets AFL club, Perth Pythons Hockey Team, Rock Wallabies climbing group, Loton Park Tennis Club, Perth Spectres Basketball Team, and The Western Swifts Badminton Team.

Graeme Watson 

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