Morrison Government ministers Michaelia Cash and Linda Reynolds and 19 of their Coalition colleagues backed an ultimately unsuccessful One Nation Senate motion condemning medical care for transgender children.
One Nation Senator Malcolm Roberts put forward the motion on Tuesday. It called for doctors to use a “wait-and-see” approach in treating children with gender dysphoria.
Senator Roberts did not speak on his motion, which cited unsourced statistics claiming “70-90% of young people’s dysphoria resolves itself by puberty” and “a large percentage [have] pre-existing mental health issues.”
It also condemns “experimental and unproven medical treatments of irreversible puberty blockers and sex hormone treatments, and irreversible transgender surgery” for children.
Australian guidelines already recommend people be over the age of 18 before undergoing gender-affirming surgeries.
Before puberty, a transgender child will typically undergo a social transition first.
Puberty blockers, which are reversible, temporarily pause the effects of puberty to allow transgender adolescents more time to decide their next steps.
Trans health experts warn denying children with gender dysphoria affirming care is not a “neutral” option.
Doing so can put them at increased risk of depression, anxiety and self-harm, they say.
Liberal Senator Jonathon Duniam, who voted for the motion, read out the Morrison government’s official response in the Senate.
“The government is committed to ensuring the safety and wellbeing of young Australians,” he said.
“We acknowledge that the clinical treatment of children experiencing gender dysphoria is a complex and evolving area and that more research is needed.”
He said states and territories had “primary administrative and clinical responsibility and control” of the relevant services.
Greens slam ‘harmful fearmongering’ in One Nation’s motion
Greens senator Janet Rice blasted the One Nation motion as “bigoted” and “harmful fear-mongering”.
“News flash! Transgender and non-binary people exist. They are valid and deserve our love and support,” she said.
“For some of them, medical support to affirm their gender is life-saving.
“This motion is harmful. It’s full of misrepresentation, misinformation, fear-mongering and it’s got no place in our Parliament.
“It is a complete misrepresentation of the support being offered to young people in Australia affirming their gender identity, such as the world-class services being provided at the Gender Clinic at the Royal Children’s Hospital in Melbourne.
“The Greens reject this motion absolutely. We state our support for all trans and gender-diverse people.
“You are valid; we see you and we support you.”
— Janet Rice (@janet_rice) June 15, 2021
Liberal Senator Andrew Bragg, who voted against the bill, told Sky News the One Nation motion was “inappropriate”.
“We want to give people the maximum number of choices when they’re dealing with complicated issues as many trans people are,” he said.
“I think the idea of removing options like puberty blockers and other options from people isn’t appropriate.
“It’s not for politicians and the Senate to be removing options from medical practitioners [and] people who are vulnerable.
“I think it’s an inappropriate motion. I was pleased [the Senate voted it down].”
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