Prime Minister Scott Morrison has criticised new Cricket Australia guidelines benefiting transgender and gender-diverse players as “heavy-handed” and “mystifying”.
On Thursday, the sport’s national body revealed a new elite-level policy and guidelines for community cricket that allows players to compete in line with their gender identity, rather than their biological sex.
But Scott Morrison told 2GB radio host Alan Jones on Friday that he believes community clubs should drive local sport.
“I think it’s pretty heavy-handed to put it pretty mildly,” he told 2GB.
“There are far more practical ways to handle these issues than these heavy mandatory ways of doing it. I’m sure these issues have quite carefully and practically managed at a club level already.
“So why there’s a necessity to get the sledgehammer out on this is mystifying me.
“I think we need to get the issue in perspective and ensure we manage it calmly.”
Cricket Australia announced transgender and gender diverse guidelines on Thursday
Announcing the policy on Thursday, Cricket Australia CEO Kevin Roberts said the guidelines will allow for the inclusion of transgender and gender diverse people in community and elite cricket, subject to certain criteria.
Elite female cricketers will need blood testosterone levels below 10 nano-moles per litre (nmol/L) for 12 months. A referral process to an expert panel will also ensure “fair and meaningful competition”, the policy states.
Roberts said Cricket Australia modelled the policy after the International Cricket Council’s guidelines.
“It doesn’t make any sense that today, people are discriminated against, harassed or excluded, because of who they are,” he said.
“Discrimination of any sort has no place in the game.
“Our dedication to a fair and inclusive sport sees the policy strike a balance between the opportunity to participate and ensuring fair competition.”
Cricket Australia’s new guidelines are consistent with the International Olympic Committee guidelines. Roberts said Cricket Australia will also review the guidelines every 12 months.
Associate Professor of Sport Management at the University of Technology Sydney Daryl Adair told ABC News all sporting organisations needed to take a lead in the “continual learning process” regarding transgender athletes. He predicted the IOC guidelines may change in the future.
“Trans and gender-diverse individuals have suffered from misunderstandings and demonisation and have mental health challenges. Certainly, suicide rates for transgender people are substantial,” he said.
“So this is a clear statement about welcoming all Australians into cricket.”
For the latest lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, intersex and queer (LGBTIQ) news in Australia, visit qnews.com.au. Check out our latest magazines or find us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube.