Moira Deeming Serves Defamation Notice On Victorian Liberal Leader John Pesutto

Moira Deeming Serves Defamation Notice On Victorian Liberal Leader John Pesutto
Image: Liberal MP Moira Deeming (right) with Victorian Opposition leader John Pesutto.

A day before the Victorian Liberal Party was to take up a motion to expel her, MP Moira Deeming on Thursday served a defamation notice on Opposition leader John Pesutto.

Deeming had earlier threatened to challenge her suspension and file a lawsuit against Pesutto. She then backflipped claiming she had no intention to sue the Liberal Party and had only “contemplated legal assistance’.

Trigger Warning: This story discusses anti-trans statements, which might be distressing to some readers. For 24-hour crisis support and suicide prevention call Lifeline on 13 11 14. For Australia-wide LGBTQI peer support call QLife on 1800 184 527 or webchat.

Deeming’s latest move is likely to escalate the crisis within the Liberal Party, between those who are sympathetic to her and other MPs who would like to see her permanently expelled from the party.

The defamation notice demanded Pesutto withdraw Friday’s expulsion motion, issue a public apology to her and pay her compensation and legal costs within 28 days, reported The Australian.

Anti-Trans Rally

Pesutto had initially initiated action against Deeming after the MP participated and spoke at a rally on March 18, 2023, organised by a British anti-trans campaigner Kellie-Jay Keen, which was attended by neo-Nazi members of the National Socialist Network.

Deeming had driven Keen, also known by her online handle as Posie Parker, to Parliament. There was a public outcry after Neo-Nazis clashed with transgender rights activists and gave the Nazi salute on the steps outside Victorian Parliament.

In March, Deeming had survived a move to expel her, after the motion did not go for a vote. Instead, Deeming accepted a nine-month suspension from the party room.

Last week, Deeming issued an ultimatum to Pesutto, claiming that she was told that if she accepted the suspension, the Liberal leader would make a joint statement with her clarifying that she had not been accused of being a Nazi or a Nazi sympathiser. Pesutto said there was no such agreement.

Even if this second expulsion motion in two months succeeds, Deeming will remain in Parliament as a cross-bench MP.

‘Deeming Has Damaged Party Brand’

In an email to party MPs, Liberal Pride president Heath Wilson, had claimed Deeming had “destabilised the Victorian Liberal Party” and  “damaged our brand”, reported Nine Newspapers.

“The decision to expel Mrs Deeming is a necessary step in promoting a culture of acceptance and respect for all members of our community,” Wilson wrote.

The controversial MP, a former teacher and councillor, has a history of making anti-trans statements. During her time as Melton city councillor, Deeming attended meetings of various councils across Australia to ask if it was “legal for local government councils to provide sex-based targeted services and facilities separately to gender-identity based targeted services and facilities. If not, why not?”

In her 2020 campaign statement, Deeming said she was against “radical policies” like storytimes for children narrated by Drag Queens and trans persons getting access to bathrooms that match their gender identity.

Deeming had used her maiden speech in Parliament to further the anti-trans narrative and claimed that women and female children in Victoria were suffering as the government “cannot or will not define what a female is”.

The MP said, “Primary school children were being subjected to erotic sexual content,” and insisted that “what most women would consider to be sexual harassment and indecent exposure is now legal in Victoria,” and called on the state to reinstate what she called “sex-based rights”.





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