18 October 2022

Greens float proposal for inclusive swimming times for women, gender-diverse people

| Lottie Twyford
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Swimming pool

Most public pools in the ACT are government-owned, but their management is contracted out. Photo: Facebook.

The Territory’s pools might soon have “inclusive” swimming timetables for gender-specific and gender-diverse community members after a push from the ACT Greens.

Member for Yerrabi Andrew Braddock is behind the initiative.

He said some people in the community struggle to access a safe, culturally appropriate and inclusive swimming environment, including women from multicultural backgrounds and people from the LGBTQIA+ community.

Mr Braddock said given the ACT Government owns and contracts out management of many public swimming pools, these should be guided by a common policy that embeds inclusive schedules as a standard.

Andrew Braddock

Member for Yerrabi Andrew Braddock is calling for gender “inclusive” timetables. Photo: Michelle Kroll.

However, Mr Braddock said he didn’t envisage the inclusive timetables being implemented in larger complexes like Canberra Olympic Pool or Gungahlin Pool as he didn’t believe it would be practical.

“Those are large, open areas and it would be very difficult to achieve that privacy,” he said.

“For example, we may want to look at one of the smaller pools like Kingswim at Majura, where the government comes to an arrangement with the operators.”

Mr Braddock said consultation with the pools’ operators and groups on what times they could be open to women, trans and gender-diverse people would be important.

Previous trials of women and men-only sessions at Canberra Olympic Pool in 2019 had shown that evening-only times were not always the best.

He hit back at a suggestion pools should be open to everyone at all times, saying his proposal helped ensure swimming was accessible to all in the community.

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Research shows people born overseas represent 47 per cent of the entire coastal drowning death toll.

President of the Multicultural Association of Canberra Nishi Puri said many migrant women of her generation (late-50s) are not comfortable enough to go swimming in a pool where men will be.

“My daughter is fine to swim in her swimmers in a pool with men around because she grew up here with other Australians, and some women my age are bold enough to go,” she said.

“But others won’t be comfortable, especially Muslim women for religious reasons.”

Ms Puri said swimming is a great exercise for people of all ages for building community and welcomed Mr Braddock’s motion.

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It’s not just women from multicultural communities who Mr Braddock said are tipped to benefit.

Acting Executive Director of A Gender Agenda Jenni Shoring said providing swimming times for trans and gender-diverse people would increase the availability of swimming to more people in the community.

“[This cohort] normally has concerns about safety and gender dysphoria [and this would] enable them to enjoy an activity that has great benefits from an exercise and mental health perspective,” she said.

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Mr Braddock’s motion passed the Assembly with tri-partisan support on Wednesday afternoon.

Canberra Liberals MLA James Milligan said the party supported initiatives that helped people access sport and exercise facilities.

“I believe the scheduling issues in this motion should be addressed,” he said.

Sports Minister Yvette Berry outlined a number of initiatives underway to increase access to pools and swimming lessons for the Territory’s multicultural community, older Canberrans and people with different sensory needs.

“The ACT Government believes all Canberrans should be provided with the opportunity to participate in active recreation and this includes aquatic recreation,” she said.

Implementing inclusive swim timetables was an election commitment from the ACT Greens.

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I’m reading this: a pool for Greens voters at designated times

Yes, the Greens are fools and in the past their frivolous antics would have been ignored or shunted into oblivian. The Greens would have Australia and all its institutions, from schools to Parliament to swimming pools turn into one big gender-diverse, non-binary, queer collective. But the greater fools are those green and teal advocates who vote for them, growing in numbers and influence across the country, in every sector.

Hear hear. Canberrans, as a whole, are “Sheeple”.

If there is an issue with, say, Muslim women not feeling comfortable swimming in a pool where men are, why don’t the Muslim community build their own pool for this specific purpose?

I’m so glad everyone else already recognised that this suggestion is segregation not inclusion.

Braddock wants to get his nose in the papers by focusing on only one section of this proposal, the gender diverse group. Stoking culture wars ain’t only for the Sky News crew.

It’s truly funny how many times these incompetent Greens shoot themselves in the foot.

William Newby4:53 pm 13 Oct 22

I heard this guy speak on ABC yesterday with Adam, he was not that convincing, was poorly prepared and had no real substance to back this grand idea.

Why are the Greens out to exclude people all the time?

Before much longer the Greens will be pushing to have the pool closed to the general public so that heroin users can shoot up and swim naked without the fear of pesky onlookers (aka the rate payers that fund these schemes).

Surely anyone that migrates to Australia does some research first. Surely they would know the score from migrants from the same or similar areas that preceded them. They must be aware of the cultural differences that they will encounter and realise that given the opportunity to migrate here that THEY will have to somewhat accommodate, compromise and trade off some of their cultural beliefs to fit in to and thrive in the host nation. The Greens would have the hosts make all the trade offs and I don’t think that it’s either fair or logical. Our playing fields and pools are ideal situations where we can all mix and assist in decreasing the division of cultures that The Greens advocate.

Another great idea from the Greens. We just need to do it
equitably so that every group, identity, race, skin colour, religious, non-religious, male, female, non-binary, gay, lesbian,
trans, straight, bi, pansexual, fat, skinny, tall, short, right-handed, left-handed, ambidextrous, red-haired, blonde, brunette or those who are follically challenged all have their own allocated times where they can swim and feel safe from others that don’t fall into their type.

Luckily for me, I fit in with a number of these categories, so I’ll get to swim regularly.

Either that or we start building an awful lot of swimming pools where people an segregate from others.

Inclusion through discrimination.

Of course the Greens a pushing for this (rolls eyes).

“He hit back at a suggestion pools should be open to everyone at all times, saying his proposal helped ensure swimming was accessible to all in the community.”

It seems to me that the community at large are happy to share a pool with anyone, no matter what their religious beliefs or sexual orientation. The Greens seem to be the only ones calling for separation between the communities. Yet another example of why the Greens are irrelevant.

Once this has started where does it end?
Are we to have women only buses?
There are private gyms for women only, they pay a premium for that.
I’m not opposed to a women’s only pool however why should the rest of us foot the bill?

Are we going to have movie sessions for short people?

Really! We’re an inclusive country that lets anyone in regardless of religion or colour. How about they engage in our culture of mixed swimming. Muslim women already have the Burkini to swim in if normal swimwear is not their thing. The trans, well I can’t see what their problem would be and wonder if it’s just the Green who has found another way of highlighting them as different when they want acceptance.

If this goes ahead, we are just creating more division in the community. More things for people to get angry about.

The last thing I want to see is pool times for fat and bald Anglo Saxon men. On behalf of that community, we’re happy to swim with everyone else.

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