Legislative Council: Wednesday, April 10, 2024


Transgender Treatments

The Hon. F. PANGALLO (14:50): I seek leave to make a brief explanation before asking a question of the Attorney-General, representing the Premier and the Minister for Health and Wellbeing, about transgender treatments.

Leave granted.

The Hon. F. PANGALLO: A short time ago in the UK, a report by eminent paediatrician Dr Hilary Cass found that there was no good evidence to support the clinical practice of prescribing hormones, puberty blockers, to under 18s to stop puberty or transition to the opposite sex. It makes for some disturbing reading. This type of medical intervention for transgender young people is being actively practised and promoted in Australia and by SA Health. Hundreds of children have been prescribed these drugs without any credible evidence to support them, and they could be causing additional harm.

The UK Prime Minister, the Hon. Rishi Sunak, a short time ago indicated that his government was now moving quickly to address the many concerns raised by Dr Cass and also adopt her 32 recommendations. The UK Prime Minister says that the wellbeing and health of children must come first.

I was accused by the Premier and health minister and others of indulging in culture wars when I raised these very serious concerns in seeking an inquiry into the explosion of gender dysphoria and questions over the unproven medical treatments given to children as young as 11 years of age. My fears of a medical scandal are now being realised while this government shies away because of the pressure applied by transgender activists in the face of growing medical concerns being expressed globally by eminent medical professionals and scientists. My questions to the health minister and the Premier are:

1. In light of the Cass review, will they now appoint an independent medical expert and immediately order a review in South Australia of these practices and report it to the parliament?

2. Will the Premier and health minister now acknowledge that this issue is in the public interest and in the interest of the health and wellbeing of these vulnerable young children undergoing treatments that are little more than pseudoscience?

The Hon. K.J. MAHER (Minister for Aboriginal Affairs, Attorney-General, Minister for Industrial Relations and Public Sector) (14:53): I thank the honourable member for his question. I think one of the things that we rely upon with health professionals, particularly those developing policies that affect great numbers of people in the community as a whole, is to take into account a whole range of different views, take into account a whole range of different evidence that is presented and come up with the best prescriptions in terms of health policy.

We saw that at its highest during the COVID-19 pandemic, where you would have found a range of different views about how we would navigate the global pandemic, what was the best policy response, including vaccinations, but I am very fortunate that we listened to those professionals who make judgements about the various views that are put forward. That is exactly what the health professionals who help influence public health policy decisions do, and I am sure that will continue, but if there is anything further that either the health minister or the Premier wishes to add, I will see if they wish to do that.