Was Pauline Hanson being misleading when discussing trans children?

Eyebrows were certainly raised when One Nation leader Pauline Hanson told parliament earlier this year that there were officially only 57 transgender children in Australia.

In February Senator Hanson delivered a speech in parliament outlining why she was introducing legislation that would give parents a say on how schools included information on debated topics such as climate change and gender identity into the curriculum.

Quoting the 2016 national census Senator Hanson said there were only 57 transgender children attending school in Australia.

“Just 57 children, under the age of 15, identified as transgender.” Senator Hanson said, “How many transgender students do you think there are in a single school? Well I’ll let you do the maths, 57 transgender students divided by 9,400 schools.”

The senator argued that the existence of transgender students was incredibly rare, but every other student was “subjected to transgender policies which are being taken to extremes.”

Yesterday the ABC and RMIT’s Fact Check unit published their take on Senator Hanson’s statement describing it as “wrong”.

The ABC noted that the figures Senator Hanson used are from the 2016 census but the Australian Bureau of Statistics issued the figures with a warning that they were not reliable – something that Senator Hanson didn’t mention in her speech.

The report also mentions that there are also publicly available figures from gender clinics around Australia that indicate there is a much higher population of children being treated for gender incongruence. These figures have been widely reported in the Australian media over the last 12 months.

Sky News host Chris Kenny has attacked the ABC’s article saying it is a sign of political bias. Kenny defended Hanson yesterday saying the One Nation leader had been truthful.

“The ABC Fact Check you see is not so much interested in the facts as the ideology or the opinions it wants to support,” Kenny told viewers yesterday.

“Hanson has done nothing more than cite the census figures, according to the 2016 census, she said, there were 57 children identified as transgender.

“What she said was 100 per cent accurate, and the ABC/RMIT fact check said she was wrong”. Kenny said.

Hanson is not the only person who has shared statistics from the ABS without adding the addendum that they are not reliable numbers.

Sky News presenter Peta Credlin has also previously promoted the ABS numbers on the transgender population without sharing the agency’s warning note about their unreliability. One Nation’s NSW leader Mark Latham has also been called out for misrepresenting the figures in the past.