Labor and Greens MPs in the Queensland Parliament voted on Thursday to defeat a motion from Robbie Katter’s Australian Party against transgender women participating in female sport.

The motion was defeated 49 votes to 33, with Liberal MPs and the sole One Nation Party MP voting in favour of the motion. 

Trigger Warning: This story discusses transphobic comments, which might be distressing to some readers. For 24 hour crisis support and suicide prevention call Lifeline on 13 11 14. For Australia-wide LGBTQI peer support call QLife on 1800 184 527 or webchat.

Katter had in April vowed to introduce a bill in the Queensland Parliament to ban trans women and girls from participating in female sport, if the next federal government failed to enact a national ban within 90 days of the May 21 elections. 

Erodes Integrity of Female Sport, Claims Katter

Katter’s motion asked the house to support women’s rights by agreeing that “allowing biological men to play in female sport will erode the integrity of female sport”.

The motion further said that “biological males participating in female sport pose an unfair competitive advantage against, and/or safety risk against female athletes” and anyone supporting it was “complicit in eroding the integrity of female sport and therefore women’s rights”

In his address to the Parliament, Katter claimed that it was “important for parents – I’m a parent of some young girls who will be hopefully participating in some sport one day – to imagine them 15 or 17 years old, post-puberty, competing against the odd person who might want to transfer to being female, that doesn’t sit well with me. “

Katter said he had “nothing against anyone who falls in that category of transgender –  God loves them all and welcomes them all.” 

Extreme Right-Wing Trope

Stirling Hinchliffe, Queensland’s Sports Minister, said that the Labor government would not support the motion. Hinchlciffe said that the debate was not about sport or women’s rights but “an attempt to cause fear and division and is unnecessarily dragging an extreme right-wing trope into this parliament”. 

The minister said that the Parliament making such blanket decisions was “not only draconian and bigoted, but unwarranted”. 

Greens MP Michael Berkman termed the motion “repugnant” said that it was unnecessary to carry “this kind of disgusting conservative dog-whistling politics in here.”

The other Greens MP in Parliament Amy McMahon said that instead of talking about healthcare, the housing crisis or climate action, the LNP and now Katter’s party was dragging “trans people’s basic rights through the dirt”. 

Reject Right-Wing Label, Says Katter

Liberal MPs did not speak during the debate but voted in favour of the motion. Katter in a Facebook post thanked  LNP and One Nation for voting for the motion, but seemed to not like being called “far right wing”. 

“Overnight, our views have been labelled ‘far right wing’, ‘repugnant’ and ‘disgusting’ by some of our Parliamentary colleagues. We resoundingly reject these labels, and implore all sides of politics to actually display the type of tolerance towards others that they so commonly claim is important to them,” Katter said.
The federal election campaign has seen harmful debates around transgender rights and trans participation in female sport. Prime Minister Scott Morrison refused to sack Warringah Liberal candidate after she used offensive slurs against the trans community and her past anti-LGBTQI social media posts came to light. Morrison has also endorsed Tasmanian Senator Claire Chandler’s bill to ban trans women from participating in female sport.

If you feel distressed reading the story, you can reach out to support services.

For 24 hour crisis support and suicide prevention call Lifeline on 13 11 14

For Australia-wide LGBTQI peer support call QLife on 1800 184 527 or webchat.

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