Assistant Treasurer Stuart Robert has said the removal of gender from birth certificates is “not just reckless, it’s madness”.
The Liberal Member for Fadden said that the changes could disrupt the collection of planning data, which informs targeted funding for education and health services.
The Northern Territory recently passed similar changes, which also made provision for Territorians to change their gender to reflect being non-binary or intersex.
“This identity war now poses some pretty serious risks. I can’t allow states to do it,” Robert said.
“This data is essential for sensible planning across Australia. Governments at all levels use it for planning including where hospitals and schools go. It’s used by housing developers.
“It will make planning exceptionally difficult for the department of health which has to make decisions about where obstetrics wards go and fertility services.
“We provide cervical cancer vaccines for free. How will we know how many to order?
“Cervical cancer doesn’t care about how you identify, it cares about whether you have a cervix.”
Robert was much more alarmist and less practical in an interview on 2GB, where he said “we need to know who are men, who are women” to “plan properly for the various services we have.”
“If you start taking that off on some identity war and some identity drive we just simply won’t be able to plan anymore. A dose of common sense would help here,” Robert said.
Trans advocates called for Robert to resign over his comments, saying they showed “an alarming level of incompetence in his misinformed attacks on the state’s proposed birth certificate reform.”
“Mr Robert is wrong to say the Tasmanian proposal will remove gender from birth certificates, when in fact it will make gender optional,” said Transforming Tasmania spokesperson Martine Delaney.
“His more serious error is to say this has any implications for the collection of important statistics, because all the statistics he refers to will continue to be gathered and available.
“Mr Robert has displayed such gross ignorance and incompetence about this simple issue that he should resign or be sacked.
“In the last few years, Tasmania has emerged as one of Australia’s most inclusive and fair-minded states, and we reject curmudgeonly federal politicians trying to impose their reactionary attitudes on us,” Delaney said.
Robert was at the centre of a parliamentary expenses scandal in October, when it was revealed he was charging taxpayers thousands of dollars for his home internet, saying he was forced to use 4G data due to the lack of broadband availability at his Nerang home.
The Assistant Treasurer repaid the nearly $38,000 he tried to force taxpayers to foot instead of opting for an unlimited 4G plan on fixed rate far lower than the $1,000 a month bill he was racking up, suggesting planning around data may not be his forte.