Transcripts

Transcript of Senator Andrew Bragg interview with Laura Jayes – Sky News – Wednesday 16 June 2021

Laura Jayes:

Back to the One Nation motion condemning the use of medical treatment for transgender children in a vote that split the Coalition. The Ministers were among 21 Coalition Senators that voted for the motion, but it eventually failed. Liberal backbencher Dean Smith and Andrew Bragg were among those who voted against the motion and Senator for New South Wales Andrew Bragg joins me live now. You voted against this bill. Why were you and your colleagues so split?

Senator Andrew Bragg:

Well, good morning Laura. I mean, the Senate goes through this process of having motions, which is not a very good way to consider complicated policy issues that require Senators to put in a yes or no. And as I say, where they're complex issues, it doesn't provide a very good platform for a debate because there's no opportunity for debate at all. Yesterday, we were given a conscience vote. And I thought that the motion put forward by One Nation was wrong, and I was happy to vote against it.

Laura Jayes:

Okay, so what was the motion? And it seems like it was a tactic from One Nation to create a bit of divide within the Parliament or the Government more specifically, is that what you suspect?

Senator Andrew Bragg:

Well Laura, my issue is, we want to give people the maximum number of choices when they're dealing with complicated issues, as many trans people are. And I think the idea that you will remove options like puberty blockers and other medical options from people I think is not appropriate and would not be appropriate. It's not for politicians and the Senate to be removing options from medical practitioners. So, I think it's an inappropriate motion, and I was pleased to see it defeated.

Laura Jayes:

21 of your colleagues on the Coalition side did vote for this motion, though. What was the motivation do you think?

Senator Andrew Bragg:

Well, I'm not seeking to speak for anyone else. I mean, the point of a conscience vote is that people can exercise their conscience. My view is that it's not appropriate for the Senate to be wading into these sorts of matters. I mean, these are sensitive matters, to be determined by individuals with their doctors and their families. And it's not for the Senate to be removing health options from people who are vulnerable and to be frank, the most likely people to commit suicide in Australia.

Laura Jayes:

Indeed, so if I can, not verbal you, but sum up by saying that your view is that politicians should stay out of this kind of business.

Senator Andrew Bragg:

It's ridiculous. These motions are rubbish. They are damaging, and hurtful to people. And I think we want to protect and look after minorities, we don't want to bash up on minorities. That's not the way. And if people have particular public health issues, they should raise them at the State level where these things are governed and run. I mean, it's not the Senate's role to be wading into these issues. And they're very sensitive issues. And I think there's a lot of pressure on that particular community. And it's important that that community knows that it's supported.

Laura Jayes:

Indeed, and you see this as a health issue, obviously. But do you accept that some of your colleagues see this as an ideological one?

Senator Andrew Bragg:

I respect all my colleagues' different views on this. But I think the principle of choice here is very important. And it's not for the National Parliament to wade into this matter. So I understand that people want to bring ideology into it, but the reality is, if people in the privacy of their own home, or in a clinic with their doctor want to go through this sort of process, that's up to them. I mean, I'm a live and let live person, and I think most Australians are that way.

Laura Jayes:

Indeed, well, just before I let you go, I don't know whether you're a member of the Australian Club, but it seems they don't want women. 

Senator Andrew Bragg:

Well I won't be a member and won't be entering that building. And I think, look, it's a matter for the Australian Club. I'm a believer in freedom of association. But I just think it's bizarre. I mean, what decade is this? Is it the 1950s? I just think it's so strange.

Laura Jayes:

Yeah, indeed. But I mean, there are women only clubs, aren't there?

Senator Andrew Bragg:

Yeah, but I mean, this is a club that I would have thought would want to have women as members. I mean, there are women running businesses and doing all sorts of things. I just think it's strange, but it's a matter for them. I mean, I'm not seeking to make any further comments on it. I just think it's weird.

Laura Jayes:

Indeed. I tend to agree with you. Andrew Bragg, thanks so much.

Senator Andrew Bragg:

See you.

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