An Australian MP and father of two transgender children Andy Meddick has ripped apart opposition lawmakers who cruelly mocked trans issues during a private conversation.
Meddick, who is an Animal Justice Party MP for the Victorian legislative council, has accused opposition leader and Liberal Party MP Michael O’Brien and some of his colleagues of making light of trans issues during a private conversation.
The Brisbane Times reported Meddick told parliament on Thursday (18 March) that O’Brien and colleagues – including former leader Matthew Guy and party frontbencher Tim Smith – made jokes during a lunchtime meetup about how there was a label “for everyone”.
“A conversations between them was overheard, mocking my member statement on transgender day of visibility, where I had a transgender pride flag in the parliament,” Meddick said. “The opposition leader himself made comments joking about the word ‘trans’. They described members of our community as ‘poor dears’.”
He was cut off by Craig Ondarchie, a Liberal Party MP and who Meddick also said was part of the conversation, who denied any conversation happened.
However, Labour MP Harriet Shing, who is gay, spoke up in support of Meddick. She said education was required for MPs to better understand “hurtful” rhetoric that might amount to hate speech.
A spokesperson for O’Brien told the Brisbane Times that Andy Meddick had lied and “chosen the cover of parliamentary privilege to make these ridiculous claims”. They added: “We’d like him to make the same allegations outside of parliament.”
Under parliamentary privilege, Australian MPs cannot take action for defamation against another MP based on words spoken in parliament. But the protection doesn’t apply if an MP repeats those words outside parliamentary proceedings.
Guy and Smith both told Brisbane Times that Meddick had lied. Smith added that if Meddick had something to say he should “allege it under the law of the land, not under the cowardice of parliamentary privilege”.
Meddick said he saw other MPs including Brad Rowswel, David Morris and Matthew Bach at the lunchtime meeting alongside O’Brien, Smith, Guy and Ondarchie.
Andy Meddick has been contacted for comment.