Prime Minister Anthony Albanese has made a controversial anti-trans statement in an interview with British television personality Piers Morgan.
In an interview with the former TV presenter, Albanese was asked a range of questions, spanning the status of Australia’s independence, to the contentious ‘What is a woman?’
“An adult female,” the Prime Minister replied.
“How difficult was that to answer?” Morgan responded.
“Not too hard,” the PM said, adding, “I was asked during the (election) campaign actually.”
Albanese then said that it was “up to people to be respective and I know that … controversy can come at times like that.”
The Prime Minister slammed the recent visit of anti-transgender activist Kellie-Jay Keen aka Posie Parker’s to Australia. “There was recently a very controversial visit in Australia that was designed to stir up issues and young people coming to terms with their identity and who they are, I think they need to be respected,” said Albanese.
LGBTQI Groups Slam PM
LGBTQI advocacy groups slammed the Prime Minister for failing to defend trans women.
“Trans and gender diverse Australians need a Prime Minister who will defend them, not one who sucks up to right-wing provocateurs,” Just.Equal Australia spokesperson, Sally Goldner, said in a statement.
Just.Equal called on the government to set up an advisory committee led by trans and gender-diverse people.
“The committee will ensure ministers across the board, from justice, through health and sport to the Prime Minister himself, understand the problems faced by trans and gender diverse Australians and what kind of policies and laws will ensure we are treated equally and inclusively,” said Goldner, who said she will write to the Prime Minister expressing its concerns and calling for an advisory committee.
Online Backlash To PM’s Comments
The PM’s comments stoked major backlash online.
“An answer to this question should just roll off the tongue. A supportive answer. And given it’s so topical he should have been drilled on it months ago,” said one Twitter user.
An answer to this question should just roll off the tongue.
A supportive answer.
And given it’s so topical he should have been drilled on it months ago.
— 🕯️josiegirl62 (@josiegirl62) May 2, 2023
Users pointed out Morgan’s question was an anti-trans dog whistle, used by transphobic actors as a catchphrase.
“Nobody who knows anything about [trans people] as a political issue fails to realise that [the question] has long since been co-opted by extreme voices,” a Twitter user said.
Because nobody who knows anything about it as a political issue fails to realise that “the standard definition” has long since been co-opted by extreme voices. He’s a Prime Minister, not Bambi caught in the headlights, and it was easy to guess that topic would arise.
— Tabby Cat (@TThetabbycat) May 2, 2023
“It’s disingenuous bad faith, pretending the phrase hasn’t been weaponised by a particular group as a slogan.”
PM Shirks Responsibility
Albanese and Morgan delved deeper into their trans discussion, moving to the issue of trans athletes in professional sports.
“What would you do, for example, on this issue of transgender athletes in women’s sport?” asked Morgan.
The Prime Minister responded by saying that it’s up to the organisations to contend with the issue and that Australia’s “sporting codes” are able to “deal with it” if needed.
“What is going on where a Prime Minister is wasting their time indulging platforms designed only to fuel hatred and bigotry,” wrote a Twitter user.
Here’s the PM last year being asked the same question – what is a woman – and giving the same answer he gave on the bad UK show – it was a dumb question then, it’s even more hateful now and that the leader of our country is legitimising this is https://t.co/C9Zj2ZvU03
— Amy Remeikis (@AmyRemeikis) May 2, 2023
The Guardian’s Amy Remeikis pointed out that this is not the first time Albanese has been asked these questions, nor given the same answer, accusing the Prime Minister of further “legitimising” a “hateful” view.