Senator to introduce bill to protect women’s sport

Senator to introduce bill to protect women’s sport

Senator Claire Chandler has announced that she is introducing a private members bill “to protect single-sex sport for Australian women and girls”.

As a result of changes to the Sex Discrimination Act 1984 in 2013 in which the sex-based definitions of “man” and “woman” were deleted, protections for women’s sport were removed (along with protections for women in a myriad of other areas). Amendments regarding gender identity were added and the Act is now used by activists to threaten legal action against anyone excluding males from women’s sport. It is this legal threat which has been used to pressure sporting codes and clubs to adopt the position that sport should be based on self-affirmed gender identity rather than sex.

The Senator has been tirelessly advocating on this issue for the past two years, trying her best to highlight to decision-makers in Australia the necessity of protecting single-sex sport for women, and urging them to take action to do so. Despite presenting evidence of safety and fairness issues that arise when allowing transwomen (biological males) to compete in women’s sport, and explaining the importance of protecting single-sex sport for women, this has fallen on deaf ears.

Indeed, Sport Australia has said that it will not update its sporting guidelines unless a change to the Sex Discrimination Act forces them to do so. It is thus clear that the next step must be legal reform.

Senator Chandler says her Bill will be based on the following key principles:

  • Single-sex sport for women and girls will be lawful: nobody, whether it’s our biggest national sporting codes or a volunteer at the local footy club, will be breaking Commonwealth Law by offering single-sex women’s sport.
  • The law applies equally to everyone at every level of sport: women’s single-sex sport is not a privilege only for elite competitions, it’s just as important at local level.
  • The law must be simple to understand and administer: sporting clubs and codes shouldn’t have to hire teams of lawyers, doctors and sport scientists to prove they can keep their women’s sport’s competitions and teams single-sex.
  • Trans people will NOTbe banned from playing sport: I continue to support trans people playing in sport – it’s up to sporting codes to offer both single-sex sport for women and other options that support participation for everyone.

Chandler said the bill would “provide clarity that it is not a breach of Commonwealth law to offer single-sex competition for women, at any level of sport”.

“Rather than protecting the rights of women in sport, the Act is being used as a weapon to pressure sporting codes and clubs into operating women’s sport based on self-affirmed gender identity rather than biological sex,” she said.

“The purpose of women’s sport is to provide single-sex competition for females.

“Australians have had enough of ideologically driven bureaucrats claiming that women’s sport should be based on gender identity and not biological reality.”

This is an excellent development in the bid to protect women’s sport in Australia. We agree with the Senator when she says that “single-sex sport for women and girls is a fundamental good for our society” and that it “should not only be legal, it should be celebrated, promoted and encouraged at every level of sport”.


Women’s Forum Australia is an independent think tank that undertakes research, education and public policy advocacy on issues affecting women and girls, with a particular focus on addressing behaviours and practices that are harmful and abusive to them. We are a non-partisan, non-religious, tax-deductible charity. We do not receive any government funding and rely solely on donations to make an impact. Support our work today.

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