Campaigner for biological truth served with AVO

In a pluralist democracy like ours, devoted to upholding legal principles and individual freedom, certain rights are regarded as fundamental. These include the rights to free speech, religion, association and conscience. They constitute the foundation of a vibrant, flourishing society built on mutual respect and competing ideas. 

However, as HRLA continues to report, these fundamental freedoms are currently under threat in Australia. Activists continue to exploit the legal system to shut down debate and silence those with whom they disagree.  

The legal action brought against Kirralie Smith, spokesperson for the organisation Binary, is one such case in point. Kirralie advocates on behalf of biological women and girls whose rights to women only spaces and sporting competitions is being threatened by the inclusion of biological men. Her organisation Binary was set up to “push back against harmful gender theory and the aggressive ideological agenda” that accompanies it. 

According to media reports, Smith was issued with two apprehended violence orders (AVOs) after she campaigned against the inclusion of biological males in women’s sport. 

The AVOs originated from two of the soccer players who play in women’s competitions after Smith named them in some of her campaigns. However, Smith has never met the players –  in fact, she says she lives hundreds of kilometres from them.

The justification for the AVOs was Smith’s social media posts and an email petition organised by her organisation to Football Australia asking them to amend their policy to prevent biological males playing in female competitions.

That is: there has been no violence and no harassment at all. The police became involved simply based on Smith’s online speech about transgender ideology.

Smith told the Daily Mail:

'It's important for women to be able to draw boundaries and speak freely about how males impact their spaces and services,'

'I will continue to speak truthfully about matters of biology and how they affect women and children in Australia.'

Smith indicated she will be vigorously defending herself in court.

It is deeply troubling that a person can state a belief about men and women – one assumed by Christians and widely shared by people of all faiths and no faith – and have the police involved. It’s deeply troubling for freedom of conscience and freedom of speech in our country if emails and social media posts that contain no element of threat or harassment can justify police intervention.

Australia is a signatory to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), Article 18 of which provides for a right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion. Not only that, it articulates the right to express those beliefs publicly.

Smith’s advocacy for women and girls is clearly one such protected belief and it is a worrying sign for human rights in Australia if she can be brought before the courts for believing men are men and women are women and publicly stating so.

HRLA client Dr Jereth Kok has similarly been silenced after expressing his views publicly. Dr Kok had his medical licence suspended and has been unable to work as a medical doctor for the past three years following an anonymous complaint about his social media posts. 

As ordinary Australians increasingly find themselves targeted for their beliefs and for exercising their fundamental freedoms, the Human Rights Law Alliance is here to provide advice and advocacy. Our work is focused on ensuring that Christians (and indeed all Australians) are free to continue to speak truth in the public square and to ensure fundamental freedoms that are guaranteed in international law are not eroded within Australia.

If you or someone you know is involved in a similar case, we may be able to help. You can contact us via our Legal Help page.