Scott Morrison says Claire Chandler’s bill will not be a government bill

Prime Minister Scott Morrison has quickly backflipped on Tasmanian Senator Claire Chandler’s Save Women’s Sport Bill, saying there are no plans for it to be adopted as a government bill should the Coalition be re-elected.

The PM’s distancing himself from the legislation comes there are calls for Katherine Deves, his hand-picked candidate for the seat of Warringah, to be disendorsed.

Deves is the founder of Save Women’s Sport Australasia and has worked closely with the Tasmanian Liberal senator Claire Chandler to promote a bill that would allow sporting groups to exclude transgender women and girls.

On Wednesday Deves issued an apology over social media posts she’d made in the past that used “unacceptable language” to describe transgender people. Just days earlier the Prime Minister had been extolling Deves as a high quality candidate.

“The government does not have any plans for that to be a government bill,” Morrison told reporters on Wednesday.

On Monday the Prime Minister had said the government would have more to say about Senator Chandler’s bill during the campaign, which had led to suggestions it would move from being a private members bill to a government bill.

Rarely do private members bill make it to becoming laws, and conservative groups such as Family Voice Australia had been calling for it to be adopted as government policy.  Late last week during a television appearance South Australian senator Alex Antic said he wasn’t sure if Chandler’s bill had become a government bill, suggesting that there had been moves for it be adopted by the coalition.

Morrison statement ruling out the adoption of the bill comes as a growing number of his own MPs rejected the need for the proposed laws.

On Wednesday evening the member for Higgins, Katie Allen, said she believed sporting groups in Australia were handling to issue of transgender players well and there was a huge diversity within the realm of sport.

“Sports a big term for a lot of different events that happen, it’s from ping-pong through to swimming and athletics, there’s a lot of different sports and each sporting body seems to manage all these things very well.”

Allen said the issue came down to individual situations and individual sports and it was best handled by each individual sporting body.

Tasmanian MP Bridget Archer previously said her view that Senator Chandler’s bill was an unnecessary vanity exercise. While Liberal senator Andrew Bragg said the proposed laws were unnecessary because the Sex Discrimination Act already had carve outs for strength and stamina.

“The law already addresses this issue and I’m not aware of any evidence that the law is deficient,” Bragg told Guardian Australia. “I think it is working well.”

OIP Staff

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