Hobart residents have received recorded robotic polling calls asking leading questions about young trans people and schools, which equality advocates have slammed as “biased push-polling”.
The calls ask whether parents should have the right to withdraw their children from classes about gender and whether the issue will influence how they vote.
The party or candidate behind the calls is not yet known, but they have been confirmed to come via an Australian market research company.
Equality Tasmania spokesperson Rodney Croome condemned the calls, saying they are politicising the lives of young people.
“This telephone poll is premised on a negative view of transgender identity, is designed to return a particular result unfavourable to trans and gender diverse people, and seeks to politicise their identities,” said Croome.
“Transgender and gender diverse young people need support from their families and schools, not this kind of divisive and politicised attack.
“Whoever commissioned this polling should hang their heads in shame, and if they have the gall to release the result I hope it will be met with the disdain it deserves.”
The call opens with a recording stating: “Some Australian schools teach children that they can change their gender based on how they feel.”
Call recipients are then asked: “Do you believe that parents should be entitled to know what their child is being taught and be able to withdraw their kids from classes that teach them that they can change their gender based on how they feel?
“Press 1 for yes, parents should have the legal right to know what their children are being taught in school and to withdraw them from controversial lessons.
“Press 2 for no, parents should not have the legal right to know what their children are being taught in school and to withdraw their kids from controversial lessons.”
The calls further ask: “Would you be more or less likely to support a political party or candidate committed to introducing laws that guarantee a parent’s right to know what their child is being taught at school and to remove them from classes that teach them that they can change their gender based on how they feel?”
The last Tasmanian state election was held in 2018, with the next set for 2022.
The Safe Schools LGBTIQ anti-bullying program was scrapped in Tasmania in 2017, amid national debate over its supposed “radical gender theory”.