The Greens have called for gender affirmation surgery to be included under Medicare this week. Party leader Adam Bandt said the Medicare expansion would be a practical change to help transgender Aussies and comes as trans issues are thrust into the election campaign’s spotlight.
Per the Sydney Morning Herald, Bandt’s call for the change to Medicare comes as Katherine Deves — the Liberal candidate for Warringah — called trans children “surgically mutilated and sterilised” and also pushed for trans women to be blocked from women’s sports. She has since apologised for her comments.
Under the Greens’ policy, Medicare would actively act on a parliamentary petition submitted in late 2021, which garnered over 148,000 signatures at its close.
The online petition called for gender-affirming and gender reassignment services to be eligible for Medicare benefits because they’re essential for the mental health and wellbeing of people within the LGBTQ+ community. It said people in the community faced costs of up to $30,000 for gender affirmation procedures, despite being eligible for surgeries like breast reductions for medical purposes.
Bandt spoke passionately about trans issues at his National Press Club address on Wednesday. He called trans rights a “non-negotiable” for the Greens.
“Trans rights are non-negotiable for the Greens, and that is crystal clear,” he said.
“Having lived through the marriage equality debate, where people reported back to me that what they felt like and what they heard was their very right to exist being debated in parliament, we can not afford another one of those.
“People’s rights to exist should not be the fodder of political election campaigns. Trans people deserve our support.”
Prime Minister Scott Morrison supported the bill to ban trans women from playing women’s sports earlier this week. He has since backpedalled after Deves’ controversial views were uncovered.
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