Australia PM Scott Morrison criticises CA's transgender policy, describes it as' heavy-handed and mystifying'

Cricket Australia have come under fire for a new policy aimed at making the sport inclusive for transgender and gender diverse players, with Prime Minister Scott Morrison describing it as heavy-handed and mystifying.

Reuters, Aug 09, 2019 12:58:59 IST

Sydney: Cricket Australia (CA) have come under fire for a new policy aimed at making the sport inclusive for transgender and gender diverse players, with Prime Minister Scott Morrison describing it as “heavy-handed” and “mystifying” on Friday.

Australia PM Scott Morrison criticises CAs transgender policy, describes it as heavy-handed and mystifying

File image of Australian PM Scott Morrison. Reuters

CA issued two policies on Thursday, one setting out the rules for “Elite” cricket, which they said was closely aligned with the 2017 International Cricket Council guidelines, and the other for “Community Cricket”.

While the “Elite” policy demands that trans women must reduce their testosterone levels over a 12-month period to compete in women’s cricket, the “Community” policy requires only a nomination of a gender identity.

There was an immediate backlash on social media with some critics lambasting the governing body for progressive posturing but the majority accusing CA of fundamentally undermining women’s sport.

Morrison waded into the debate in a radio interview with conservative pundit Alan Jones on Friday and suggested the mandatory policies were unnecessary, at grassroots level at least.

“I think it’s pretty heavy-handed to put it pretty mildly,” the prime minister told Sydney radio station 2GB.

“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.”

CA’s policy initiative followed Sport Australia’s launch of “Trans and Gender Diverse Inclusion” guidelines for all sports in the country last month.

The inclusion of transgender athletes in elite women’s sport has become the subject of huge controversy, with critics arguing that being born male gives an unfair physical advantage even after transition.

Advocates for transgender inclusion argue that the process of transition decreases that advantage considerably and that physical differences between athletes inside sex classes mean there is never a truly level playing field in sport.

Transgender weightlifter Laurel Hubbard’s gold medal-winning performance for New Zealand in women’s events at the Pacific Games in Samoa last month became a lightning rod for criticism of transgender policy in the region.

Hannah Mouncey, an Australian transgender athlete who was part of the consultation process CA carried out in drawing up the policies, said they had set the standard for the governing bodies of professional sport.

“It’s quite easily the best in the world at the elite level and I don’t think we’ll see a better policy come out anywhere,” she told the Canberra Times on Thursday.

“It’s brought together all the best bits of other policies and created one that’s specific to cricket.

“There has to be an elite pathway (for transgender and gender-diverse people), that’s something which shouldn’t be denied to someone just because they’re different.”

Updated Date: Aug 09, 2019 12:58:59 IST

Rank Team Points Rating
1 India 4027 115
2 New Zealand 2829 109
3 South Africa 2917 108
4 England 4366 104
5 Australia 3270 99
6 Sri Lanka 3795 95
Rank Team Points Rating
1 England 6745 125
2 India 7071 122
3 New Zealand 4837 112
4 Australia 5543 111
5 South Africa 5193 110
6 Pakistan 4756 97
Rank Team Points Rating
1 Pakistan 7365 283
2 England 4253 266
3 India 8411 263
4 Australia 5471 261
5 South Africa 4407 259
6 New Zealand 4784 252