Today I will introduce my Save Women’s Sport Bill to the Senate.
Single-sex sport for women and girls is a fundamental good for our society. Women’s sport has given us unforgettable Olympic Gold Medal moments and world champions who have inspired our nation.
Millions of Australian parents and grandparents have proudly watched their daughters’ and granddaughters’ sporting achievements: playing their first game, winning their first trophy, making their first state team, or getting their first professional contract.
It is unacceptable that Commonwealth laws threaten sports clubs and associations with legal action for offering single-sex sporting events and competition exclusively for females.
The Sex Discrimination and Other Legislation Amendment (Save Women’s Sport) Bill 2022 I am introducing today will make clear that single-sex sport for women is lawful, encouraged and supported by the Parliament of Australia.
Women’s sport exists to provide separate competition for females, in acknowledgement that males have numerous physical advantages over females in the sporting arena.
When the Bill comes to a vote, Parliamentarians will have a simple question to answer: Do you agree that women and girls have the right to play single-sex sport?
In recent years, too many sporting bodies and institutions have shamed themselves and betrayed women by answering “no” to this simple question. Worse, female athletes and women speaking up in support of single-sex sport have been censored, denigrated and told to shut up.
Australia’s Sex Discrimination Act 1984 has always acknowledged that sex is relevant in sport, but under recent interpretations has unacceptably limited the circumstances in which single-sex sport can be offered. As a result, sports clubs, associations and volunteers are threatened with legal action if they exclude males from women’s sport.
My Save Women’s Sport Bill clarifies and simplifies these provisions to make clear that offering single-sex sport is lawful under the Sex Discrimination Act. It will allow sporting codes to embrace single-sex sport for women without the threat of legal action under the SDA, while continuing to allow codes to offer a range of categories and competitions to maximise participation and inclusion. It does not seek to ‘ban’ anybody from playing sport.
What it does do is seek to restore respect for women’s rights and acknowledge the long-understood reality that categorisation by sex is important in the vast majority of sports.
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