Scott Morrison has ordered the removal of a sign in one of his offices encouraging people to use the bathroom that best suits their gender identity.
The prime minister was asked about the “inclusion and diversity” sign found outside the women’s bathroom in the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet office in Canberra.
Its existence emerged following a photograph tweeted by Channel 9’s political editor, Chris Uhlmann, and it didn’t go down well.
“I’ve been made aware of this,” Mr Morrison told 2GB radio host Ben Fordham. “It’s ridiculous. It’ll be sorted out.”
The sign in question features a rainbow logo with the message: “PM&C is committed to staff inclusion and diversity. Please use the bathroom that best fits your gender identity.”
Mr Morrison said his view about these kinds of initiatives is clear.
“It’s over the top. You don’t need to do this stuff. It’s just political correctness and over the top. I don’t think is necessary. I think people can work out which room to use.”
He said he had intervened after becoming aware of the sign today and expected it to be removed imminently.
“That’s what I expect,” Mr Morrison said. “My views are clear on this.”
Labor leader Anthony Albanese was quick to criticise the move, asking: “How is anyone meant to take this bloke seriously?”
“The PM doesn’t have a plan to deal with cost of living going up, living standards going down and wages going nowhere – but he has a plan to deal with this bathroom sign in an office building,” Mr Albanese said.
While gender neutral bathrooms are becoming more common in Australia, Mr Morrison described the existence of one at his department as being a sign of “the Canberra bubble”.
Mr Morrison uses the term “Canberra bubble” to describe issues he believes are predominantly of interest to those who are confined to the nation’s capital — such as the press gallery and politicians.
The group Genderqueer Australia said gender neutral bathrooms are one which feature multi-use facilities and are not labelled as exclusively male or female.
“It’s a sad fact that the simple act of going to the toilet can be incredibly difficult for those people who don’t meet gender expectations,” it said.
“You can be abused, ridiculed and in certain cases, physically injured by people who reject your right to use the toilet.”