LNP defends its support for a call to ban trans athletes from women’s sports in Queensland
Queensland’s opposition has defended its support for a failed motion that called for transgender athletes to be barred from playing women’s sport.
Katter’s Australian party state leader, Robbie Katter, introduced the motion in parliament on Tuesday, saying the call to ban trans athletes from women’s sport was about protecting “women’s rights”.
The motion was voted down after it failed to win support from Labor or the Greens. However, it was backed by all members of the Liberal National party, along with members of KAP and One Nation.
Speaking to reporters on Thursday, the opposition leader, David Crisafulli, said he didn’t believe it was fair for trans women to participate in women’s sport.
“I don’t believe it’s a fair contest. And I think in sport, you want a fair contest, and I think that’s fair and reasonable,” Crisafulli said.
“There’s nothing in that motion that I think Queenslanders will be overly uncomfortable with.”
Despite his party’s support for the bill, Crisafulli said the issue was not his “priority” or something he’d move a motion about.
“If you’re asking me whether or not it’s my priority, it doesn’t fit into the economy, service, delivery or transparency,” he told reporters.
The KAP and LNP were criticised by the Labor government and the Greens over their support for the motion.
The sports minister, Stirling Hinchliffe, said the bill was centred on an “extreme rightwing trope” and accused the KAP of attempting “to cause fear and division”.
“I’m surprised … [the KAP is] using the relatively rare private member’s motion opportunity on this issue, rather than something more relevant to Queensland,” he said in parliament on Wednesday.
“The Palaszczuk government has been supportive of funding these core issues of women in sport, however … it’s not the role of the state to determine who can and cannot play sport based on any factor, including gender.”
The Greens member for Maiwar, Michael Berkman, said the motion was “completely unnecessary” and labelled it “disgusting, conservative dog-whistling politics”.
“I think it is telling that we are hearing not a single word from the opposition to speak against it,” he told parliament.
Berkman’s Greens party colleague, South Brisbane MP Amy MacMahon, said the motion was not about women’s rights, but about misogyny.
“Sports is for everyone,” she told parliament.
“I’ve been a consistent critic of the  Olympics as a big waste of money … but one bright spark would be Brisbane committed to being the most trans-inclusive games in history, welcoming trans athletes with open arms.”
Matilda Alexander, patron of the LGBTI legal service, said “any motion to promote discrimination … is irresponsible and has the potential to divide and harm vulnerable people in our community”.
She said debates about trans women that are playing out in Queensland and during the federal election campaign are “incredibly damaging” to LGBTQ+ communities.
“The harm that has been done to the trans community just by raising these issues … is immeasurable,” Alexander told Guardian Australia.
“Every time this becomes a matter of national debate, rather than a matter of national acceptance of people’s human rights, it traumatises.”
A fact sheet published by ACON’s TransHub says there is no consistent research that suggests trans or non-binary people have any athletic advantage.
It also notes that the Sex Discrimination Act already allows “sport organisations to exclude trans athletes on a case-by-case basis on matters of strength, stamina and physique.”
“Women’s sport, and increasing the participation of all women in sport, is essential, important and should be protected,” the ACON fact sheet says.
“Trans women have been competing openly in the Olympics since 2004 and women’s sport continues to grow and thrive.”
Guardian Australia has contacted opposition leader David Crisafulli for comment.