Alex Antic’s trans prohibition bill blocked by Senate


Liberal Senator Alex Antic appears in the Australian Senate
Liberal Senator Alex Antic's private members Childhood Gender Transition Prohibition Bill 2023 has been blocked by the Senate

Liberal Senator Alex Antic’s Childhood Gender Transition Prohibition Bill 2023 has been blocked by the Senate today.

Alex Antic’s private members bill, which had been co-sponsored by One Nation’s Malcolm Roberts, United Australia Party Senator Ralph Babet and Nationals Senator Matt Canavan, was stopped from going to an inquiry when it was voted down by 32 to 23 in the Senate on Thursday morning.

The bill sought to ban common forms of gender affirming care for young people, including puberty blockers and hormonal treatments, and would cancel the registration of health care providers if they delivered that care to their patients, including doctors, pharmacists and psychologists. 

The bill went so far as requiring health practitioners to wean young people off their prescribed medicines.

Parents, health professionals, human rights experts and advocates have welcomed the rejection of the bill.

“This bill was an unprecedented attack on the rights of trans young people to access the health care they need,” said Equality Australia Legal Director Ghassan Kassisieh following the vote.

“Denying young people access to the gender affirming care they seek would cause them immeasurable trauma and irreversible harm.

“Medical decisions are for patients not parliaments to make, supported by parents and clinicians who know the risks and benefits and can put the individual concerned at the centre of any decision.”

“Australian courts have repeatedly approved this treatment, recognising it represents the orthodox middle approach among the medical community.”

Carlie Morris, parent of a trans child and spokesperson for Parents for Transgender Youth Equity asked how a politician could think they knew what a child needs more than their mother or father, or more than highly-trained medical professionals.

“Parents work diligently with the medical practitioners that care for their kids and together they make evidence-based decisions about the best treatment for their child,” Morris said.

“This process is not only a responsibility but also a fundamental right for parents, allowing them to support the ongoing well-being and health of their children, ensuring they can grow up happy and able to thrive. I should not have to compromise my daughter’s access to health care for the sake of political opportunism and waste time fighting the ignorance and intolerance that causes my child, and many others, so much hurt and pain. 

“The Convention on the Rights of the Child states that no child should be deprived of their right of access to health care services. We wouldn’t deny a diabetic child access to insulin. Why is it any different for my child? And just imagine how you would feel at the thought of that necessary treatment for your child being debated publicly under the threat of it being ripped away altogether.”

Dr Michelle Dutton, a GP and Chair of the RACGP Transgender and Gender Diverse Healthcare Specific Interest group said Senator Antic’s bull failed to live up to its claim to be about protecting children. 

“You do not protect people by denying them access to life saving healthcare,” Dr Dutton said. 

“What this bill seeks to do would cause untold suffering for trans and gender diverse young people. It does not protect. It puts young lives at risk.”

The bill was a departure from the approach of the Liberals when they were previously in government.

Former health minister Greg Hunt received advice in 2020 from the Royal Australasian College of Physicians (RACP) that withholding or limiting access to gender affirming healthcare would be unethical and have serious impacts on the health and wellbeing of young people. 

Hunt subsequently rejected calls for a national inquiry into the treatment of trans and gender diverse children, acknowledging that it could further harm an already vulnerable group and provide no further scientific evidence to support approaches to care.

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Andrew M Potts

Andrew has been covering LGBTQIA+ issues for a range of publications in Australia over two decades and was the Asia-Pacific correspondent for global LGBTQIA+ news website Gay Star News.

QNews, Brisbane Gay, App, Gay App, LGBTI, LGBTI News, Gay Australia

3 Comments

  1. Joy
    16 November 2023
    Reply

    I would like to know who voted for the bill. So much evil!

    • Steve
      17 November 2023
      Reply

      Yes I would too.

    • Steve
      17 November 2023
      Reply

      The vote was to NOT send the bill to the Community Affairs Legislation Committee for inquiry and report by 31 May 2024.

      Those that voted against (in favour of the bill):

      Antic
      Cash
      Hughes
      Paterson
      Askew*
      Chandler
      McGrath
      Rennick
      Babet
      Duniam
      McKenzie
      Roberts
      Brockman
      Fawcett
      McLachlan
      Ruston
      Cadell
      Hanson
      Nampijinpa Price
      Scarr
      Canavan
      Henderson
      O’Sullivan

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