Did ACON Cook the Books On Sport Inclusion Guidelines?

Sport Inclusion Guidelines

The rules for Transgender sporting participation are set out in the Guidelines for the inclusion of transgender and gender diverse people in sport.

You can find contextual information here and download the PDF of the guideline here.

The guideline was issued in 2019 by the Australian Human Rights Commission (AHRC). The guideline’s front page shows the badges of three organisations:

  • Australian Human Rights Commission (AHRC)
  • SportAus
  • The Coalition of Major Professional and Participation Sports

Who Wrote The Guideline on Trans Inclusion?

The guidelines were written by three peak organisations (representing a total of 12 constituents). All contributors are members of ACON’s Pride in Sport scheme.

This is about relationships. It is important to understand how how several governing bodies come together.

All contributors draw their transgender expertise from membership in ACON’s Pride in Sport scheme.

Australian Human Rights Commission (AHRC)

The Commission is Australia’s National Human Rights Institution. They investigate and conciliate in complaints of discrimination, undertake research, and provide advice on human rights.

AHRCFounding member of ACON’s Pride in Sport membership scheme

In their introduction to the guide, the AHRC repeats ACON’s slogan that one must be able to “bring your whole self” to sport (page 5).


SportAus and Australian Institute of Sport (AIS) make up the main parts of the Australian Sports Commission (ASC). The ASC is accountable to the Minister for Sport. See also – SportAus ‘about’ page.

Australian Sports Commission (ASC)Member of ACON’s Pride in Sport
AISFounding member of ACON’s Pride in Sport
SportAusMember of ACON’s Pride in Sport

Coalition of Major Professional and Participation Sports (COMPPS)

COMPPS is a peak body representing the following sports:

Australian Football LeagueMember of ACON’s Pride in Sport
Cricket AustraliaMember of ACON’s Pride in Sport
Football Federation AustraliaFounding member of ACON’s Pride in Sport
National Rugby LeagueMember of ACON’s Pride in Sport
Netball AustraliaMember of ACON’s Pride in Sport
Rugby AustraliaFounding member of ACON’s Pride in Sport
Tennis AustraliaMember of ACON’s Pride in Sport

COMPPS itself, is a member of Pride in Sport.

COMPPSMember of ACON’s Pride in Sport


The AHRC notes that they conducted “targeted consultations to inform the development of these Guidelines”. They “heard from a broad range of sporting stakeholders, including transgender and gender diverse athletes.” (Guideline page 5)

Trans-identified male, Roxy Tickle, was “sworn to secrecy” about his involvement in the consultation process. Roxy is closely affiliated with Pride in Sport, having appeared in several of their promotional materials.

“Further Resources” Section

A “further information” section at the end of the guideline points readers to a number of other organisations.

AHRCMember of ACON’s Pride in Sport
Sport Australia (SportAus)Founding member of ACON’s Pride in Sport
Play by the RulesPride in Sport “Corporate Partnership / Collaborator”
Pride in SportIs Pride in Sport
Proud2PlayA competitor of ACON’s Pride in Sport
Minus18An affiliate of ACON. Minus18 partners with businesses to finance youth-oriented events in exchange for brand exposure.
State and Territory Human Rights CommissionsAs an example, the Victorian guidelines embed the transgender flag into the design

These organisations are affiliated with ACON, are ACON, competitors who have the same mission as ACON.

What Does The Guideline Say?

The guideline focuses only on instances discrimination against transgender persons. The guide does not deal with how to balance fairness, competition and safety with others. In many areas, the guideline uses confusing language that would deter local clubs from exercising the rights to provide single-sex competitions.

Confusing language

The language used often appears deliberately confusing.

For example this paragraph deals with temporary exemptions and permanent exemptions together, despite these following different processes. It does not advise how to obtain these exemptions. It suggests that sex-segregated sport exemptions are outside the “core” provisions of the Act.

A sporting organisation must apply to the Commission to obtain a temporary exemption. A sporting organisation does not need to apply to the Commission to rely on a permanent exemption. If a sporting organisation wishes to rely on a permanent exemption it will need to make its own assessment that the exemption applies. Relying on an exemption is not mandatory. Sporting organisations may choose to comply with the core anti-discrimination provisions of the Act even when it is possible to rely on an exemption.

(Guideline p22)
Source: guidelines p 26

The law is misrepresented

When discussing exemptions, the guideline uses narrow language to reduce the scope of

The Sex Discrimination Act s42 allows sports to discriminate between the sexes (called an exemption) when “strength, stamina or physique of competitors is relevant“.

The guideline uses the word “only” to narrow the scope of this exemption.

“The exemption allows for discrimination on the grounds of sex or gender identity only in ‘any competitive sporting activity in which the strength, stamina or physique of competitors is relevant’.” (Guideline p24)

The guideline then goes on to say that these words have no legal meaning in Australia.

“The words ‘strength’, ‘stamina’ and ‘physique’, and the term ‘competitive sporting activity’, are not defined in the Act. Their meanings have not been conclusively settled by the Federal Court of Australia.” (Guideline p24)

Framing competition as exclusion

The guideline provides a single-page guide on how to rely on the ‘competitive sporting activity’ exemption to offer single-sex sports. (Guideline p36)

The guideline’s first instruction is to consider how important “inclusion” is in your sport. It stresses the limits of the competitive sporting activity provision (it does not apply to children under 12).

Narrowing language is used to imply that the provision cannot be applied to all sports. The guideline suggests that an onerous national and community consultation process is required to offer single-sex provisions.

The guideline frames single-sex sporting provision as “excluding an individual” rather than preserving fair competition. Note these examples (from a single page):

  • “where an individual’s strength directly affects their ability”
  • “If a sporting organisation seeks to specifically exclude an individual”
  • “so that the individual is not unnecessarily disadvantaged”
  • “providing the individual with an opportunity to respond”
  • “providing the individual with written reasons”
  • “providing the individual with an opportunity to seek a review”

This frames providing fair competition as a club seeking to unfairly exclude and individual.

No balance of rights

The guideline suggests introducing codes of conduct to create a zero-tolerance of transgender discrimination, exclusion and harassment.

The guideline gives examples of exclusion and harassment including:

  • Being told they are in the wrong bathroom
  • having team members refuse to play with them
  • being intentionally addressed by the wrong pronouns
(Guideline p38)

These examples are unqualified, meaning it is to be assumed that these behaviours are always harassment.

This means that a woman who refuses to play alongside a trans-identified male has harassed him, even if it is for her own safety or for fairness. The sport could be lawn bowls, rugby or boxing. The presumption is the transgender athlete has the right to compete, and the other athletes do not have the right to withdraw.

Case studies do not consider women’s comfort

In this example, the problem is framed as the non-binary person feeling uncomfortable in the men’s bathroom because it is in disrepair, and in the women’s bathroom because they were stared at. We do not know why.

Source – p41

The solution is to re-label the bathrooms. There is no mention of fixing the men’s facilities, so it is unlikely that Kim will start to feel comfortable in that space. There is no discussion addressing of the women’s discomfort with Kim in their bathroom.


All organisations involved in drafting the Guidelines for the inclusion of transgender and gender diverse people in sport are members of ACON’s Pride in Sport.

The guidelines reflect ACON’s focus on transgender inclusion at all costs.

The guidelines discourage clubs from exercising their right to provide single-sex sports for fairness, safety and enjoyment.

The guidelines make no attempt to balance the needs of others.

The guidelines consistently show the solution to problems around transgender inclusion being to side with the transgender person and grant their wishes

What Motivated Alex Greenwich’s Dummy Spit to LNP?

Alex Greenwich MP, independent member for Sydney, had a dummy spit earlier this week when Premier Dominic Perottet said:

…he believed it was a matter of physiology that “girls should play sport against girls” and that people should be able to raise issues “without being cancelled”.

21 ApRil 2022 Source SMH

Greenwich, shocked and appalled at Perottet’s mild position, issued an ultimatum:

“I’ve maintained a very cooperative working relationship with the Perrottet minority government, but it would be impossible for that to continue if trans youth continue to be picked on by the Premier,” Greenwich said.

21 ApRil 2022 Source SMH

“Picked on” is fairly far from the truth of what has happened. The premier didn’t even mention trans youth – only girls and boys, which he failed to provide a definition for. It’s an extreme reaction to a very mild statement. Greenwich must feel threatened.

He even took his message to instagram

So what has Greenwich’s boxer shorts all in a bunch?

Greenwich senses that Perottet won’t honour the deal he had with Berejiklian

Independent MP for Sydney, Alex Greenwich has admitted that he had a deal with the Berejiklian government. Greenwich will support the Liberal Party for as long as the Liberal Party supports the LGBTQ community.

The impact of the “boys should play boys, girls should play girls” statement has affirmed my strong commitment to the LGBTQ community and the expectation I set with premiers Berejiklian and Perrottet that if the government comes for them my support and cooperative relationship with the government will end. I welcome the Premier’s agreement to meet with me, trans advocates, and sporting representatives, and hope we can repair the damage done.

Source SMH, Archive link

I think our voters would like to know more about “the expectation [Greenwich] set with premiers Berejiklian and Perrottet”.

What “support” has Greenwich given to those premiers? Moveover, which support has the government given Alex Greenwich?

What support has the NSW Liberal Government given to Alex Greenwich?

Alex Greenwich and Brad Hazzard have spent a fair bit of money together recently.

LGBTQ Strategy and Maple Leaf House

On 16 March 2022, Alex Greenwich was alongside Minister for Health Brad Hazzard to announce a new LGBTQ Health Strategy.

Brad Hazzard notes in the video that Alex Greenwich was “up in the Hunter a few months ago when we opened Maple Leaf House“. This is a gender clinic in Newcastle modelled off the RCH clinic in Melbourne. Their guidelines for treatment are actually the RCH guidelines hosted on their site.

Hazzard says transing kids “is not a health issue”.

The new LGBTQ strategy promises $12 million:

  • $4.2m to ACON to establish a new LGBTIQ+ health centre to deliver primary care and GP, mental health, sexual health and cancer screening services;
  • $3.4m annually for NSW Health’s Specialist Trans and Gender Diverse Health Service to support trans youth and adults;
  • $2.65m to support NSW Health workforce education and training, and to kickstart local initiatives delivered jointly with LGBTIQ+ organisations;
  • $1.78m to ACON and Twenty10 for mental health and suicide prevention initiatives.

That’s an ADDITIONAL $6 million to ACON on top of the $13 million in NSW Health funding + $4 million “other grants” they receive annually.

The LGBTQ strategy embeds concepts such as Intersectionality into government strategy.

Alex Greenwich has been furthering ACON’s aims for some time

Alex Greenwich is the LGBTQ candidate for Sydney. He is Clover Moore’s endorsed candidate in the seat and proudly declares himself “Team Clover”.

Alex actively campaigns for transgender rights. Note he says he is consulting only with transgender organisations, not with the wider community.

Source: instagram

In 2014, Alex Greenwich introduced introduced the Births, Deaths and Marriages Registration Amendment (Change of Sex) Bill – legislation that gives a person the right to change the sex recorded on their birth certificate without changing their married status.

In 2019, while working to decriminalise abortion in NSW, Alex Greenwich produced abortion legislation where the word “woman” is completely missing. The 2019 act talks about “a person who is pregnant”.

21 November 2021 – Alex Greenwich has read out a statement in parliament praising ACON’s TransHub.

Alex Greenwich is ACON’s pick to lead the charge on conversion therapy in NSW

In Victoria and Queensland, we have seen these bills use the horror of gay conversion therapy to:

  • replace the definition of legal sex with “gender identity”
  • outlaw any form of talking or exploratory therapy for gender-confused individuals
  • mandate gender affirmation, usually meaning medical interventions

He says this is an “omnibus bill will include long overdue reforms to ban LGBT conversion practices, allow people to affirm their gender without surgery, end unnecessary surgery for people with intersex variations performed without consent, and remove exemptions allowing schools to discriminate against LGBTIQ+ staff and students.”

Source: announcement on Facebook
  • Ban LGBT conversion practices” – this will mandate medicalising confused children
  • “allow people to affirm their gender without surgery” – this will allow any male to simply register as female and gain access to any spaces reserved for women.
  • end unnecessary surgery for people with intersex variations” – awesome!
  • remove exemptions allowing schools to discriminate against LGBTIQ+ staff and students” – this will remove the right of schools to provide single-sex education.

Alex Greenwich needs government support to smooth the way for ACON’s Equality Bill.

Alex Greenwich needs government support to smooth the way for ACON’s Equality Bill. This bill is going to steamroll over women’s rights and child safeguarding in NSW. It is a bill that benefits only doctors, pharmaceutical companies and professional activists.

As an aside

While researching this article, I came across a 2GB post headlined “MP Alex Greenwich ‘blames’ 2GB for crackdown on climate activists disrupting traffic” from 3 weeks ago.

Independent MP Alex Greenwich opposes the law, saying, “Tonight is the Parliament at its worst. It’s when 2GB and the Daily Telegraph form our policy.”

MP Alex Greenwich ‘blames’ 2GB for crackdown on climate activists disrupting traffic

It seems like Greenwich has form for testerical announcements to the press as a method for getting his way.

Australian Media’s Pro Bono Work for ACON Pride in Diversity Leaderboard Scheme – Part 2 – SBS

See Australian Media’s Pro Bono Work for ACON Pride in Diversity Leaderboard Scheme – Part 1 – ABC

ACON’s Pride in Diversity lists only a few “media” members.

  • 10 ViacomCBS (Channel 10)
  • Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC)
  • Bloomberg L.P.
  • Initiative Media
  • SBS

In part 1 I looked at our ABC. In this part 2 I will look closely at how SBS uses talent to make pro bono or in kind contributions to the Pride in Diversity mission in exchange for AWEI points.

Like ABC, SBS also lends it’s talent in exchange for points

In the 2021 AWEI SBS scored 185 out of 200 points, making it a gold employer. It is also a silver sponsor by dint of providing pro bono media services to Pride in Diversity. Services such as lending out Riccardo Goncalves to MC the 2020 Australian LGBTQ Awards. Yes, that’s the Pride in Diversity AWEI award ceremony.

Riccardo Goncalves to MC the 2020 Australian LGBTQ Awards (Q40 – 2 points)

This is in addition to their other contra deals such as pre-paying to advertise ACON for the Honour Awards.

Contra deals – also Q40

SBS Televised the Pride in Diversity LGBTQ Inclusion Awards on SBS World News

The story is on their website here.

SBS World News presenter Darren Mara introducing the story (Q43 -1 point)

Corporate Heroes Get Into The Action

SBS lends out executive-level staff to speak at Pride in Diversity events. This benefits SBS by netting them up to 2 AWEI points. Although it costs them in time and lost productivity for their senior staff.

It benefits Pride in Diversity by having the very public support of the SBS. They don’t even need to pay a speaker’s fee.

Director of Sport, Ken Shipp, spoke at the Pride in Sport Awards in October 2020 (Q34 – 2 points)

When the Corporate Heroes Aren’t Good Enough

Pride in Diversity tries to get the maximum cultural capital out of executive appearances. It does this by demanding that the CEO themselves speak at events promoting LGBTQ inclusion.

SBS sent a Director of Indigenous content to speak, but was NOT granted the 2 points for this question. PID notes the reason “Not CEO/equivalent“.

SBS Director of Indigenous Content and the Head of the NITV Business Tanya Denning Orman spoke at the Pride in Practice Conference in 2020 (Q36 – 0 out of 2 points)

Pride in Diversity was happy to accept Orman’s time, to bill her as a panellist, and charge people who registered to hear her speak. However they didn’t bother advising SBS that she wasn’t of high enough rank to gain their points.

Additional Work – Special Episodes

It’s one thing to lend out a director of programming for an afternoon, it’s another to redirect the whole cast and crew of a TV show to score 1 point on the AWEI index.

From Q43, here is SBS’s list of “additional” 1-pointer activities for 2021.

SBS – AWEI Submission 2021 – Q43 – Additional Work
ActivityMy comments
MG Parade ParticipationStaff built their own float – 1 point!
Professor Jane Ussher TalkShe talked about “about her research into the lived experience of sexual violence among trans women of colour in Australia.” 1 point!
SBS Pride Guide“The Pride Guide is a resource, produced by SBS, to support anyone creating, producing or working with LGBTIQ+ content. It has been designed to enable fair, respectful and inclusive representation.”
https://www.sbs.c om.au/aboutus/the-sbs-pride-guide
1 point for making this guide public (they got 1 point for creating it the previous year)
Australian LGBTQ Inclusion Awards on National BroadcastSBS World News ensured to cover the awards” – Presenter Darren Mara introduced the segment – The story is on their website here.
“We ensured key members of our staff, Executive and Inclusion Council were present at the Award Ceremony too.” – this means that awards tickets were purchased.

1 point to purchase a fully produced news story
ACON Covid-19 LGBTQ Impact Panel

ACON Living Trans Panel
They promoted 2 ACON events to Pride group members.
SBS Pride & Allies undertaking divisional road-showsTo continue to promote our Pride & Allies mission, Pride & Allies Co-Chairs frequently presented at SBS Staff Divisional meetings.
Cook for
This didn’t receive a point.
project into
Gay and Thai
gay men.
“Our Sales and Research team engaged with ACON directly on research into key communities and how they can best be reached based on the content they consume. ACON was able to utilise SBS expertise through our Research and Marketing teams. Our Research team consulted with the Pride & Allies Committee along this process.”

“ACON has commissioned SBS to conduct some research”. It isn’t clear whether this was paid for, but the context suggests it was a freebie.

Tim Freiszmuth (Custom Research Manager – Audience Data & Insights) “conducted several face-to-face interviews)” and is now designing a quantitative survey to reach gay Thai audiences.
Insight – ‘Coming out with faith’ episode“SBS current affairs program “Insight” ran an episode in February 2020 focused entirely on the intersection between sexuality and faith. What
makes this episode all the more special to our Pride Committee is that the episode was directly inspired by an internal staff-only panel we held in
2019 for Wear It Purple Day”

“This panel was such a success
internally, that it inspired not only our audience but also the Executive Producer of Insight Ross Scheeper’s to spend the next 6 months researching
this moving episode of Insight before airing it nationally on SBS Television in 2020.”

An entire show – 1 point.
Mardi Gras Federation Square Partnership & Screening“SBS Pride & Allies driven initiative was the pitching to and liaison with Federation Square to have the live SBS Parade broadcast aired live
on the big screen outside Federation Square.”

Priceless free promotion for Mardi Gras. 1 point.
Pride & Allies VideoSBS created a “pride and allies reel” which is played “in all our internal divisional roadshows and also during our employee inductions.”

1 point.
Mardi Gras Broadcast – Sales Presentation“Our Executive Sponsor of Pride and Allies Mandi Wicks maintained attendance at PID Executive Ally Forums in 2020; as per evidence from her diary below.”
Inclusion Council staff update videosCo-chair of Pride & Allies Committee provides a video meeting summary of their meeting – which is the broadcast to all staff.

This is a good example of how getting involved with Pride can raise a person’s profile in the organisation.
Mardi Gras
Broadcast –
“Our national Sales team was in market selling advertising to clients around Australia around our Mardi Gras broadcast. Please see attached file
“S10 – 2020 Mardi Gras Sales Deck” for the presentation that our Sales team took to market, which was created by Pride & Allies Co-Chair”

1 point – the sales team created sales collateral and spruiked Mardi Gras
Q43 – the 1 point activities

SBS profits from the gender gospel

Question 8 of the AWEI is about engaging with suppliers, vendors and business contacts:

We can show evidence of promoting our commitment to LGBTQ inclusion in up to two of the following areas:
• pitching for business or contracts
• engaging with potential clients/customers
• applying for funding
• engaging with strategic partners or key external stakeholders

Q8, AWEI 2021

In response, SBS have produced their own (Pride in Diversity-approved) LGBTIQ+ training course (with the paid assistance of Pride in Diversity consultants). This course is available on the market.

Pride in Diversity has successfully co-opted the resources of our government-funded media to spread it’s message. SBS received their 4-point reward.

Diversity, but only a little bit

This is a good point to note that the training course advertises the “benefits of diversity” but it only deals with limited diversity among sexual behaviours and gender identities. These are arguably best left out of the workplace in any case – having sex at work is still frowned upon. Diversity of ability, cultural background, languages spoken, neurotypical status – these are not covered by “Pride in Diversity” or the LGBTIQ+.


There’s a certain sinking feeling to be had with the realisation that both ABC and SBS have such deep links to ACON/Pride in Diversity. ACON has a clear agenda to promote transgender inclusion at the expense of women’s rights.

Our lefty media outlets can’t be trusted to report the truth on how transgenderism harms women. Not when they are directly being advised by ACON.

Sources of information:

ABC and SBS submissions to the 2021 AWEI scheme were obtained under FOI and are freely available for you to download.

Please get in touch confidentially via twitter or email if you’d like to discuss these or similar documents.