Liberal senator Claire Chandler faces anti-discrimination complaint

Senator Claire Chandler has revealed she’s been called before the Tasmanian Anti-Discrimination Commission over an opinion piece published in a newspaper and subsequent email she penned outlining her opposition to transgender women participating in sport.

In the piece Senator Chandler shared her view that transgender women should not be allowed to participate in women’s sport, access change rooms or women’s toilets. Speaking in the senate the politician said her being called before the commission was an example of free speech being eroded in Australia.

“I received a letter from the Tasmanian Equal Opportunity Commission, summoning me to attend a conciliation conference to answer for my statements on free speech and sex-based rights,” she said.

“Being summoned by a quasi-judicial body to appear and explain why I say that males shouldn’t be in female change rooms or in female sporting competitions is an indictment on the state of free speech in this country.”

The Liberal senator said that while people were free to disagree with her views, she believed many Tasmanians supported her stance.

“It is deeply concerning in a democracy, instead of using free speech to respond or perhaps even campaign against me in an election, some people are instead seeking to use the law to silence me and every Tasmanian who shares my concerns,” she said.

LGBTI rights group Equality Tasmania responded saying that while Senator Chandler had a right to free speech, she also had a responsibility to share her views in a way that did not cause harm to other people. The lcoal LGBTI rights group have invited the politician to meet transgender Tasmanians face to face.

“We want Senator Chandler to hear what life is really like for Tasmania’s trans and gender diverse young people and their families, including their desire to be accepted just like everyone else, and how negative stereotypes and misinformation can cause deep harm.” Dr Charlie Burton from Equality Tasmania said.

“That’s why we have invited Senator Chandler to meet and hear from these young Tasmanians and their families.”

“With every right, including free speech, comes a responsibility not to exercise that right in a way that harms others.”

“We are pleased Tasmania has a strong independent umpire, like the Anti-Discrimination Commission, to judge where the balance should lie.”

“Tasmania’s law against humiliating and intimidating language has been upheld by State Parliament twice which indicates it has widespread community support.”

“The Australian High Court has found free speech has to be balanced with other rights, and the Tasmanian Supreme Court has found that our state law against intimidating and humiliating language does not violate free speech.” Dr Burton said.

Fighting against transgender people participating in sport has become a key issue for the Tasmanian Senator. Back in June she voiced her support for author J.K Rowling and outlined her opposition to transgender people participating in sport.

Appearing on Sky News on Monday this week Senator Chandler said people were ignoring biological realities by allowing transgender women to play sport, and it was creating a safety concern for biological women. Senator Chandler said she had been contacted by women from around the globe who feared speaking out against the issue in their sporting code and workplaces.

“Both men and women who have contacted me across the country, and across the world, about this issue are certainly concerned that they can’t speak out  about their beliefs. They all agree with me of course, but they feel that they can’t speak out for fear of retribution by their friends, their place of work, they will be cancelled.” Senator Chandler said.

The senator said she found it shocking that opposition MPs have labeled her views transphobic as she considered her views to be “common sense views shared by the vast majority of Australians”.

“Most Australians recognise that women’s sport exists for women to complete in, and men’s sport exists for men to compete in.” Senator Chandler said saying clubs and sporting organisations were throwing away safety in favour of inclusion.

OIP Staff


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