My Save Women’s Sport Bill simply asks males not to play in female sport, and makes sure volunteers and local clubs don’t face legal action if they offer single-sex women’s sport.
My Bill poses one simple question to parliamentarians: Do you agree that women and girls have the right to play single-sex sport?
I’m very pleased that the Prime Minister was prepared to answer this question with an unequivocal “yes”.
Since tabling my Bill a fortnight ago, I’m yet to hear anyone even attempt to mount an argument that women and girls shouldn’t have the right to play single-sex sport. I’ve seen Labor ducking and hiding rather than answer the question. I’ve seen people changing the meaning of the word female to try and reframe the question. I’ve seen numerous false assertions that people will be “banned” from sport.
The facts are that Australia’s peak sporting body has advised sports clubs that they can face legal action if they don’t admit males into female sport. Female sportswomen have already missed out on becoming Olympians because males were allowed into female sport. International sporting bodies have found that female players face a significantly increased risk of serious head and neck injuries if they are tackled by males. Sporting bodies have documented reports from female athletes of being told to shut up and not speak about this issue or risk losing their careers.
These are concerns that thousands of women, Mums and Dads, and sportspeople from across Tasmania, Australia and the world have raised with me, and asked me to do something about. Suggestions that women should sit around and wait for more women and girls to be hurt, intimidated or opt out of sport before addressing the issue are callous and misguided.
Politicians have an obligation to stop talking around this issue and answer the question: Do you agree that women and girls have the right to play single-sex sport? If you don’t agree, then make your case why Australian women shouldn’t have that right.