Victorian Liberal MP challenges the Minister for Women

Bev McArthur is a state Liberal MP in Victoria. Below is her full media statement defending women’s sex-based rights.

This is not controversial, hateful or bigoted. It is truth, plain and simple.

Tuesday, 4 April 2023

The Victorian Minister for Women, Natalie Hutchins, should stand up for all women and publicly endorse women’s right to protest.

Member for Western Victoria, Bev McArthur, has sought the Minister’s commitment in the Victorian Parliament.

Mrs McArthur said biological women should have the opportunity, afforded to others, to make their arguments against the appalling trends which have set back women’s rights so badly.

Her comments came as the Premier and significant swathes of the media referred to a recent women’s rally as anti-trans, despite it being pro-women and pro-women’s safety.

“A sad state of public discourse on women’s rights prevails in Victoria.

“When I came into Parliament in 2018, the last thing I thought I would have to defend was women’s rights.  Those hard-fought battles for recognition were – I thought – largely won,” Mrs McArthur said.

“But we’ve gone backwards.  And now even making the same arguments is seen by some as prejudiced, hateful – an attack on other groups.

“This is absurd.   I’m a Liberal, and I believe people can do, be, act, believe and speak however they want.  That’s their business – up until the point they infringe upon the rights of others.

“Even for non-liberals, it’s not controversial,” she said.

The request for the Minister to publicly back the right for women to protest follows the recent International Women’s Day.  On that day, Minister Hutchins, distributed a media release which started with the following words: “In Victoria, equality is not negotiable.” 

That sentence could perhaps now more accurately state: “In Victoria, you shall have to negotiate your rights for equality with an angry mob, and a Premier who contorts the truth.  Good luck with that.”

Mrs McArthur told the parliament that women’s rights extend to the right to engage in single-sex sport, to play safely and compete fairly with other women.

“They should have the right to use toilets without people with penises” she said.

“They should have the right to serve jail sentences without incarceration with men who have committed violent offences against women.

“They should have the right to privacy, safety, and dignity.  Especially those who have suffered trauma, and those in refuges or shelters.

“This is fair, this is basic.  It is just common sense.  How did we ever move away from this?

“In part it’s the debasement of language.  The advent of ‘chest-feeders’ and ‘people with cervixes’, the de-feminising of biological women.

“None of what I’ve said is aggressive, or anti-trans,” she told the parliament.   

“I re-state my view that essentially, people should be able to be, and to act as they wish – so long as they respect the rights of others. 

“Making rules to stop the bad behaviour of individuals does not stigmatise whole groups.  Almost our entire legal system is based on this.  Offenders are targeted – but we don’t extend the absurdity of identity politics to make whole groups guilty.  “This is the logical conclusion of identity politics, and it is absolutely insidious. 

“The worst irony, so horribly illustrated recently, is that even to protest against this crazy situation is now labelled as antagonistic, aggressive, prejudiced.

“It’s not just sports, shelters, toilets or jails, it has become apparent that women cannot even hold their own protests without that space being invaded and their safety – and in some cases their integrity – being compromised.

“As the saying goes ‘the rot starts from the top’.  So let the Minister for Women – and her Premier if he dares – say very loudly, very clearly, that women have the right to protest and speak up for women’s rights.”

Watch Victorian Liberal MP speak up for women’s rights.