Rishworth dismisses concerns about gender dysphoria in the ADF

Labor’s veteran’s affairs spokesperson Amanda Rishworth has dismissed concerns about the Australian Defence Forces proving medical care to transgender personnel.

Liberal MP Andrew Hastie has launched a campaign against the Australian Defence Forces providing funding to personnel who experience gender dysphoria.

The Western Australian MP has called on the ADF to tighten up its recruitment procedures to ensure that people who may experience gender dysphoria are not allowed into the armed services, and argued that the government should not provide assistance to personnel who want to access gender reassignment surgery.

Rishworth said politicians should not be arguing about what medical procedures ADF personnel do and don’t get. Rishworth made the comments while appearing on Sky News.

“I just don’t think it’s up to politicians to be arguing what medical procedures our ADF personnel do and don’t get,” Rishworth said.

“As I’ve said a number of times, gender dysphoria is a medically diagnosed issue.

“Medical issues get treated by the Australian Defence Force. People don’t get the opportunity to go out to other specialists outside the Defence Force.”

Ms Rishworth said those criticising the Defence Force’s funding of sex change operations were being “hysterical” and not understanding individuals’ circumstances.

“We rely on them to do a very difficult job, and that involves treating all medical conditions, and I just don’t think politicians should get in the business of telling the ADF what should or shouldn’t be treated.” the Labor MP said.

It was recently revealed that the Defence Force has spent 1.05 million treating 28 personnel with gender dysphoria between 2012 and 2017.

Rishworth’s comments echo a statement made by the military’s second highest ranking officer. Appearing before a Senate Estimates hearing last week Vice Chief of the Defence Force, Vice Admiral Ray Griggs, said some of the commentary around the issue was “bordering on hysterical”.

“These are people who are wearing the uniform of this country and serving this country. They deserve to be treated with (the) respect that any other member of the ADF is treated with,” Vice Admiral Griggs said.

“I have found the public debate to be almost bordering on hysterical,” Vice Admiral Griggs said.

“It’s a resolvable mental health condition, it sometimes requires surgery and sometimes it doesn’t,” Vice Admiral Griggs said.

Vice Admiral Griggs said the cost of training staff far outweighed the cost of proving for their health.

The expenditure has also been defended by Defence Minister Marise Payne and Defence Personnel Minister Dan Tehan.

OIP Staff

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