Swimming Australia officials are furious after conservative activist group Advance plastered images of their olympic stars across billboards in a campaign against transgender sport inclusion.
Olympic legend Emma Mckeon features in Advance's campaign, alongside the slogan "Women's Sport is Not for Men".
Sporting icon Dawn Fraser and decorated Olympic backstroker Emily Seebohm also appeared on the mobile billboard.
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Mckeon, Fraser and Seebohm all made comments last week questioning elements of the debate, but none were consulted by Advance, and Swimming Australia did not give the group permission to use images of the athletes.
At a Griffith University event last week, Mckeon said rules allowing transgender athletes to compete need to be "fair".
She said she does not expect that she will compete against a transitioned swimmer, and she "would not want to be racing against someone who is biologically a male".
None of the swimmers are aligned with Advance, who have claimed in the past that COVID-19 numbers are botched by bureaucrats and the coral bleaching in the Great Barrier Reef is "natural".
Advance also used the billboard to take aim at independent member for Warringah Zali Steggall, depicting her in black and white opposite the swimmers with a speech bubble proclaiming "that's transphopic".
Swimming Australia executive Eugenie Buckley said its lawyers had already demanded the billboard be removed, and confirmed that even if they had been consulted by Advance, they would not have given the group permission.
"Swimming Australia strongly condemns the use of imagery of our athletes, past and present, by the Advance Australia party in recent political advertising," Buckley said.
"Consent to use the imagery was never sought prior to its publication, neither from Swimming Australia nor the individuals involved. For clarity, if it was sought it, would have been categorically denied.
"Swimming Australia does not endorse this, or any message, from the Advance Australia party. Swimming Australia has issued a legal notice to the Advance Australia party and expects the imagery to be removed from circulation immediately.
"Swimming Australia believes in a competitive environment that is inclusive, fair and equitable for all athletes at the same time. Ultimately, all Australians deserve to feel welcome, safe, valued and celebrated in swimming."
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