Prime Minister Scott Morrison during question time in the House of Representatives at Parliament House on July 4, 2019 in Canberra, Australia. (Tracey Nearmy/Getty)
Australian prime minister Scott Morrison has hit out at Cricket Australia for adopting a transgender-inclusive policy, describing it as a “sledgehammer”.
In an interview with Sydney radio station 2GB, Morrison attacked new rules that support transgender and gender diverse people to play cricket at the highest level.
The rules are in line with International Cricket Council guidelines, permitting trans women to compete in state and national women’s teams if they have had testosterone levels around those of a typical cisgender woman for at least 12 months.
Australian prime minister Scott Morrison hits out at ‘sledgehammer’ transgender policy
However, the prime minister said: “I think it’s pretty heavy-handed to put it pretty mildly. I think it’s a very sensitive issue.
“I would need to have Cricket Australia understand that this is a very heavy-handed approach they’re taking with local sport, and I think there are far more practical ways to handle these issues than these sort of heavy mandatory ways of doing it.
“And I’m sure these issues have been quite carefully and practically managed at a club level already, and so why there is that necessity to get the sledgehammer out on this is mystifying me.”
Despite attacks from politicians, the policy has been welcomed by women’s cricket players.
Women’s cricket players welcome trans-inclusive policy
Australian national cricketer Megan Schutt said: “Inclusion matters in every sense. Cricket Australia’s vision is to be a sport for all, so everyone deserves to be included.
“To have a policy and guidelines that includes transgender and gender diverse players will create a better environment for everybody to play the game.
“Now that we know that anyone who is transgender or gender diverse has a chance to play cricket at the highest level – and rightfully so – I’m confident that the elite cricket policy will provide a fair process for transgender and gender diverse cricketers to embark on that pathway.”
Former women’s captain Alex Blackwell also stressed that the team was fully consulted on the plans.
She told ABC: “I benefited so much from sport in elite teams [and] I don’t think trans and gender diverse people should be excluded from that.
“I’d love to see more transgender people engaging in sport, I’ve probably had more involvement with transgender sport people than most.”
Transgender issues have come under sustained fire in Australia from right-wing lawmakers and evangelical anti-LGBT lobbyists, who appear to be mirroring tactics seen in the UK.
Elsewhere this week, a pressure group launched a guide intended to undermine policies supporting transgender kids in schools.