Australia’s new assistant women’s minister condemned over history of ‘derogatory’ anti-trans remarks
Australia’s newly-appointed assistant women’s minister Amanda Stoker has come under fire for “derogatory” views on trans issues alongside a host of other problematic remarks.
Prime minister Scott Morrison announced on Monday (29 March) a huge reshuffle of his cabinet in Canberra. It comes as he fights to survive a series of scandals around the treatment of women.
Queensland senator Amanda Stoker was announced as the new assistant minister for industrial relations and women, and her spokesperson told SBS she is committed to responding as part of the government to issues affecting women from “all backgrounds and walks of life”.
The spokesperson said: “Senator Stoker is particularly looking forward to contributing to the government’s response to issues involving women’s equality, women’s safety, women’s economic security and women’s health and wellbeing.”
But a vast number of critics have raised concerns about Stoker’s suitability for the role because of her history of anti-LGBT+ remarks and controversial comments about a variety of other subjects including gender and race issues in Australia.
Transgender Victoria advocate Sally Goldner told SBS that she was concerned about Stoker’s appointment. She explained: “It is obviously concerning given that she’s made some pretty derogatory and emotive comments about transgender people before which are not helpful.”
Her website includes a petition to “stand up to the transgender agenda”, saying that Australians shouldn’t “abandon common sense or our understanding of basic biology” because of the “transgender debate”.
Journalist Cameron Wilson pointed out that Stoker spoke against the “transgender agenda” at the National Civic Council conference. He wrote on Twitter: “Senator Amanda has been made the assistant [minister] for women today.
“This is a bit of a concerning development for the trans community.”
Senator Amanda Stoker has made assistant minnister for women today. She's also pretty TERFy. This is a bit of a concerning development for the trans community pic.twitter.com/BIFFJhtgVS
— CAMERONWILSON (@cameronwilson) March 29, 2021
According to the They Vote For You website, Stoker has a past of voting “very strongly against” trans rights. She voted against a motion supporting trans and gender diverse voices in policy making, and Stoker voted in favour of a separate motion “reaffirms” “free and fearless speech” in the use of gender-specific language.
Community initiative Sleeping Giants Oz also shared its horror at Stoker being promoted to becoming the assistant minister for women. The initiative retweeted a video of Stoker responding to senator Patrick Dodson’s anger over the lack of government action of the deaths of “nearly 500” Aboriginal people who were in custody.
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In the video, Stoker can be heard laughing over Dodson’s impassioned speech before other government officials.
At 0:08 Amanda Stoker can actually be heard laughing at what @SenatorDodson is saying dismissing his comments.
— 💧 Sleeping Giants Oz 📣 (@slpng_giants_oz) March 26, 2021
In December 2018, Amanda Stoker wrote a piece for the Australian Financial Review criticising “identity politics”, claiming that being gay is a choice. She claimed that “identity politics prioritises” the rights of people who are “regarded as sufficiently opposed as to warrant protection”. She said these attributions can be “outside an individual’s control (such as sex, race or disability) or matters of personal choice (such as gender identity or sexuality)”.
Last year, she tried to argue that giving puberty blockers to trans kids is “harmful” and “wrong”. Stoker pleaded with Australians to resist “hard gender ideology” to “protect” their children”.