Scott Morrison calls removal of gender from birth certificates “nonsense”

Scott Morrison calls removal of gender from birth certificates “nonsense”
Image: Image: Australian Christian Lobby / YouTube.

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.

Morrison’s own New South Wales driver’s licence would not bear any indication of his gender identity.

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!”

You May Also Like

3 responses to “Scott Morrison calls removal of gender from birth certificates “nonsense””

  1. I came to ponder why this was an issue but I’ve done some quick googling and it turns out not all states permit trans folks who haven’t had surgery to change their birth certificates. And these days birth certificate presentation is part of getting a job, even though it wasn’t a decade ago. It’s not a gender thing though, it’s an immigration thing, thanks Liberal government for this new layer of bureaucratic requirement. Great work by the party who will tell you they’re about small government.

    Disappointing stuff from Shorten though, lest anyone think I’m being partisan. Dumb answer, factually awful, and just stupid politics. I get that Bill didn’t want to answer the question, but that’s exactly why he should have explained certification is for the states and this whole debate is only going on because the Liberal government has mishandled the religious freedom bizzo so badly, and continues to show no leadership. This is not the time for policy on the run, it’s the time for a debate which is laid out rationally and can be dealt with consistently, but the Liberals’ creation of the religious freedom inquiry and its subsequent refusal to release the report is just making this whole situation distressing for all sides.

    By all means bag out Shorten for trying to bullshit an answer, if he wants to make himself a target for this crap rather than just leave ScoMo suffering alone in the headlights he’s welcome to it.

    • Anyone in the recruitment game will tell you providing a birth certificate is NOT usual practice – providing your passport, or visa is. It’s all about:
      1. proving who you are (photo); and
      2. demonstrating you have a right to work in Australia

      While it may be important to trans people for other reasons, birth certificates (unlike passports, visas or drivers licence) are not integral to obtaining employment

      • Perhaps but if you, like me, don’t have a passport and no need for a visa then that’s why I’ve had to produce my birth certificate for the last two times I’ve taken on a permanent position, one of those was in the government sector. My birth certificate says I’m Australian born thus my citizenship and work right is confirmed. Your reference to drivers license is odd because that provides no info about your citizenship status, but I might have had to produce mine alongside my birth certificate as photo-id, but it’s still the birth certificate which was primary in that case.