Prime Minister Scott Morrison has tweeted out criticism of proposals to remove gender from identification documents, calling the idea “nonsense”.
Morrison declared that a “Liberal National Government will never remove gender from birth certificates, licenses and passports”, even though most states don’t show gender on driver’s licences.
Passports continue to show gender but allow holders to mark their identity as ‘X’.
“Who are Labor kidding? Get real,” Morrison tweeted.
“This is the problem with Labor, obsessed with nonsense like removing gender from birth certificates rather than lower electricity prices, reducing tax for hard-working families and small businesses,” he tweeted.
It’s a similar social media moment to Morrison’s infamous “gender whisperers” tweet, which was also inspired by a Daily Telegraph article.
The Miranda Devine column bears the headline ‘The sinister identity politics agenda of ‘new’ Labor’, outlining elements of Labor’s finalised draft policy platform which will be debated later this year.
The proposed platform supports the “Yogyakarta Principles on the Application of International Human Rights Law in relation to sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression and sex characteristics”, which advocates for the removal of gender markers from birth certificates.
Tasmania may become the first state to remove gender from birth certificates with the support of Tasmanian Labor and the Tasmanian Greens.
The change would mean trans and gender diverse Tasmanians would not be obliged to disclose if they are trans in the process of applying for jobs, among other tasks which require identification, which can lead to discrimination.
Opposition Leader Bill Shorten shot down the possibility of federal support for the proposal, saying, “No, no, it’s nonsense, no plans to do that.”
“The relative number of people who are trans is about 1200 people in Australia. That’s about one in every 200,000.
“That’s important for them but I just wonder why conservatives get so obsessed by other people’s sexuality.”
Shorten said Labor has “no plans to change” birth certificates.
The figure Shorten cited comes from the Australian Bureau of Statistics, which notes that figure “is not considered to be an accurate count, due to limitations around the special procedures and willingness or opportunity to report as sex and/or gender diverse.”
The Human Rights Law Centre’s Anna Brown tweeted that Morrison is well and truly behind the times, saying that “governments across Australia have already removed gender from driver’s licences.”
Brown noted that the government “has allowed people to describe themselve[s] as ‘unspecified’ gender since 2013.”
“Sex and gender diversity is a reality in this country. Time for our PM to catch up!”