Simon Birmingham urges caution on trans sport ban

The club operates in the Victorian Amateur Football Association, which allows trans women to play in the women’s competition and trans men to compete in the men’s competition. Sheedy said her club was working with the association to formalize guidelines, but said there already was a provision for testosterone testing if required.

Beth Cook, president of the West Brunswick Football Club, said her club had a no-questions-asked rule about gender inclusion. She said her club did not hold concerns about differences in strength and fairness in its women’s teams.


“We welcome and embrace anyone from the LGBTI+ community at our club, including trans and gender diverse players and don’t support legislation that seeks to exclude or dehumanise or not accept them in any form.”

Chandler’s bill seeks to replace s42 of the Sex Discrimination Act with a broader discriminatory power “to exclude persons of one sex from participation in any sporting activity intended for persons of a different sex”. It also proposes to insert definitions of “man” and “woman” based on sex into the act. The bill was not brought on for debate in the final weeks of parliament.

An exemption in s42 of the Act already provides a lawful basis “to discriminate on the ground of sex, gender identity or intersex status” by excluding people from competitive sports where “strength, stamina or physique of competitors is relevant”.

The treatment of transgender people was a divisive issue within the Liberal Party during the recent religious discrimination bill debate, during which five moderate MPs crossed the floor to add protections for transgender students. The government ultimately withdrew the bill after Liberal senator Andrew Bragg also vowed to cross the floor in the upper house.


Bragg said there were already “strong protections” in the Sex Discrimination Act that sporting clubs could rely on and any further legal changes should be scrutinised by the Senate’s legal and constitutional affairs committee.

Asked about the issue as he campaigned in Tasmania on Tuesday, Labor leader Anthony Albanese said Morrison “seems to be unaware that it’s already covered by the Sex Discrimination Act. Sports already control these things”.

Christian Schools Australia and Mark Spencer said the SDA exemptions were “vague and open to interpretation” and called for both parties to make “clear commitments to protect women’s sport”.

“The simple amendment in Senator Chandler’s bill would remove that uncertainty and allow organizers of sport to get on with providing opportunities for women and girls to compete on a level playing field,” Spencer said.

Morrison on Monday declined to say whether he would legislate to ban trans women from female sports if the Coalition retained government.

Netball Australia and Cricket Australia on Tuesday said they had not received any consultation from the government about the proposed bill. Both pointed toward the value placed on inclusivity in their sport.

“Cricket Australia has a number of policies in place to ensure cricket is a game that all people can play, including our Trans and Gender Diverse Policies for community and elite cricket,” a said.


A spokeswoman for Netball Australia said, “sport must be inclusive for all people – regardless of background, race or gender.”

Equality Australia chief executive Anna Brown on Monday said it was time political parties promised to govern for all people in the country, no matter their identity.

“Politicians must learn that there is nothing to be gained by refusing to stand up for LGBTIQ+ people or using debate about our lives to score cheap political points,” Brown said.

Jacqueline Maley cuts through the noise of the federal election campaign with news, views and expert analysis. Sign up to our Australia Votes 2022 newsletter here.

Notice: ob_end_flush(): failed to send buffer of zlib output compression (0) in /home/rvpgmedi/public_html/wp-includes/functions.php on line 5275