Barnaby Joyce has been slammed for saying private and religious schools should retain discrimination exemptions around banning or expelling trans students.

The former Nationals leader and Deputy Prime Minister made the comments on Sky News in the wake of yesterday’s parliamentary debacle over LGBTI student discrimination.

Joyce said that any legislation protecting gay students should not include trans youth, The New Daily reported.

“If I send my child to an all-girls’ school, I don’t want the complication and the possibility, and they haven’t completely ruled it out, that if someone turns up and says, ‘I want to identify was a woman, I want to identify as a girl, I want to go into your bathrooms, I want to go into your change rooms, I want to be educated’,’’ Joyce said.

“That might be that person’s right and wish, but everybody else says, ‘Well, that’s an affront on our rights,’ and we want that issue dealt with.

“We want it dealt with clearly so that we know that our rights are protected and other people’s rights are respected.”

Joyce’s comments suggest he is advocating for discrimination against trans children to be legal under Australian law.

“You cannot send a student whose genetic make up is XY [chromosome]…to a school established for people who are XX [chromosome].

“It is not fair on the larger school unit that they have to change and accept all because of the desires of one.”

Joyce said that schools shouldn’t be “politically correct bullied” and that trans kids should simply go to a different school.

Current Deputy Prime Minister Michael McCormack, who had to apologise during the marriage equality debate for deeply homophobic remarks he made in the 1990s, broke with Joyce and said that no Australian kids should be subject to discrimination.

“I don’t want to see any child discriminated against and, quite frankly, I think what Scott Morrison has put forward means that no child will be discriminated against,’’ he said in his own interview on Sky News.

Users on social media were outraged by Joyce’s comments, with some calling on him to step down.

“When an MP is publicly insulting children and speaking in direct opposition to the advice of doctors for a child’s welfare HE NEEDS TO GO,” The Gender Fairy author Jo Hirst wrote on Twitter.

“There is seriously something wrong with conservatives who believe trans children are a threat to others, especially when they are far more vulnerable to many forms of discrimination,” another user wrote.

“Barnaby Joyce is ignorant and doing harm.”

Legislation to remove religious exemptions to discrimination law was yesterday delayed until next year after Prime Minister Scott Morrison introduced amendments to a Labor bill that advocates said would broaden private schools’ ability to discriminate against LGBTI students.

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