Senator Claire Chandler introduces anti-transgender sports bill

Claire Chandler

Liberal senator Claire Chandler has introduced her private member’s bill that she hopes will restrict transgender women from participating in single-sex sport.

Speaking in the Senate on Thursday, Senator Chandler said she hoped her Sex Discrimination and Other Legislation Amendment (Save Women’s Sport) Bill 2022 would ensure that people assigned male or female at birth were kept separate on the sporting field.

“Millions of Australian parents and grandparents have proudly watched their daughters’ and granddaughters’ sporting achievements: playing their first game, winning their first trophy, making their first state team, or signing their first professional contract.

“Yet under recent interpretations of Australia’s Sex Discrimination Act 1984 (the Act), sporting codes, clubs and volunteers can have legal action taken against them for offering single-sex women’s sport. This interpretation has been used as a weapon to pressure sporting organisations to allow males to play women’s sport.

“The need to separate females and males on the sporting field – in the vast majority of sports – has been understood for decades.” Senator Chandler told parliament.

Senator Chandler said her bill would ensure that sporting groups would be safe from discrimination claims taken against them.

“This Bill provides a simple clarification of a principle which has been embedded in the Act for decades – that offering single-sex sport should not be grounds for a complaint of discrimination under the Act.

“An exemption has always existed in the Act providing that it is lawful to discriminate on the ground of sex in relation to competitive sport. The principle that single-sex female sport is a necessary and important category which should not be unlawful continues to be relevant today, and always will be relevant.”

“However, following changes made to the Act in 2013 and particularly in light of guidance on interpretation of the Act issued by Sport Australia and the Australian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) in 2019, there is a clear need for clarification and simplification of provisions which were intended to ensure that the operation of single-sex sport is not unlawful.” Senator Chandler said.

With only a few sitting days remaining for parliament before an election will be called, there is little chance that Senator Chandler’s bill will be discussed further, and the government has never given any indication it would consider bringing the bill on for debate.

The Tasmanian senator was elected at the 2019 election and will not be up for re-election at the forthcoming federal election.

OIP Staff

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