Liberal MP launched anti-trans fundraiser on day one of election campaign

claire chandler scott morrison transgender sports
Images: Claire Chandler/Facebook, ABC/YouTube

LGBTIQ+ advocates have slammed Liberal Senator Claire Chandler for using her anti-transgender private member’s bill to fundraise on the first day of the election campaign.

On Monday, Prime Minister Scott Morrison again threw his support behind a proposed bill from the Tasmanian Liberal Senator.

Senator Chandler’s contentious private member’s “Save Women’s Sport” bill would allow sports clubs to exclude transgender women from single-sex sports.

She said the legislation would amend the federal Sex Discrimination Act to “clarify” operating a single-sex sport on the basis of sex assigned at birth was not discriminatory.

On Monday, Tasmanian Liberal Senator Claire Chandler sent out an email to supporters asking for donations to a $45,000 fundraising campaign.

She wrote that the “action fund” would enable “push back” against “radical activists pushing their gender fluid ideology and silencing women,” The Guardian reported.

Senator Chandler also noted the “good news is that prime minister Scott Morrison is supporting this action to champion women and girls, saying it’s terrific”.

Morrison made that comment in February. On Wednesday, he said the “government does not have any plans for [Chandler’s private member’s bill] to be a government bill.”

‘Cynical abuse of the lives of vulnerable people’

Equality Tasmania spokesperson Dr Charlie Burton slammed Senator Chandler’s fundraiser as “divisive and cynical”.

“Using anti-trans legislation to drum up support during an election is a cynical abuse of the lives of some of the most vulnerable members of our community,” Dr Burton said.

“We call on federal candidates to repudiate the politics of division and focus instead on the real issues facing trans and gender diverse Australians.”

Burton said those issues include “day-to-day basic rights such as inclusive and equitable health care, identity documents affirming who we are, a reduction in the discrimination and violence we disproportionally experience and funding of trans-led projects.”

Previously, LGBTIQ advocates slammed Senator Chandler’s private member’s bill as “unnecessary, cruel and divisive”.

Reacting in February, Equality Australia CEO Anna Brown said sporting groups had worked for years to include trans and gender diverse people and treat “every team member with dignity and respect.”

She said the federal Sex Discrimination Act currently allows for discrimination on the grounds of sex, gender identity or intersex status by excluding people from competing in sport, where strength, stamina and physique is relevant.

“Instead of considering how these exemptions could be narrowed, the Chandler bill would go further and for the first time allow discrimination against children under the age of 12 years,” Brown said.

“Senator Chandler’s bill is not just unnecessary, it’s cruel and divisive.”

Scott Morrison describes Liberal MPs as ‘outspoken and brave’

On Monday, Scott Morrison also threw his support behind another Liberal candidates’ campaign to also exclude transgender women from competing in female sport.

Katherine Deves is running in the Sydney seat of Warringah and co-founded the Save Women’s Sport lobby group.

The group campaigns for sports organisations to exclude trans women from female sports.

Morrison said on Monday, “I think [Deves] raised very important issues and I think Claire Chandler’s also been outspoken and brave on these issues.

“I share their views.”

Incumbent independent Warringah MP Zali Steggall slammed Morrison’s comments on social media.

“It speaks volumes of the PM’s values and moral compass that [Morrison] supports discriminating, intimidating and excluding some of the most vulnerable in our society,” Steggall said.

“How about focusing on equal pay, superannuation equity, housing security, respect and safety for women first?”

Greens senator Janet Rice said it was also very concerning Scott Morrison had refused to rule out legislating Senator Chandler’s “transphobic, hateful bill”.

“In what way is it ‘brave’ to target trans kids for discrimination who are just trying to live their lives in peace and play some sport?” she said.

Candidates should ‘consult trans people instead of promoting hate’

Just.Equal spokesperson Sally Goldner called on all parties and candidates to listen to trans, gender diverse and non-binary people and their families.

Goldner said politicians should address the “real issues” trans people face, instead of “promoting ridicule and hatred”.

“We reject the constant raising of faux culture war issues that fail to take our interests into account and at times show blatant disregard for our health, wellbeing and lives, often in ways that promote ridicule and hatred,” Goldner said.

“It’s time to recognise that there’s nothing brave about attacking trans people, but that courage instead lies in addressing the real problems we face.”

Goldner added, “If trans and LGBTIQ+ issues are important to you, find out where candidates in both houses stand before casting your vote.”

If you need someone to talk to, help is available from QLife on 1800 184 527 or online at, Lifeline on 13 11 14, Kids Helpline on 1800 55 1800, or beyondblue on 1300 22 4636.

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