The Liberal Party went to great lengths to keep their Warringah candidate Katherine Deves away from the media. And, there seems to be a good reason for that. 

On Monday, Prime Minister Scott Morrison’s “captain’s pick” candidate Deves in an interview with Sky News used the same offensive slur against transgender people that she had used in her now deleted Twitter posts. 

Trigger Warning: This story discusses transphobic comments, 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.

Deves also appeared to walk back on her apology for using the term, falsely claiming that they were the correct terminology to refer to transgender people. 

On Tuesday, Morrison was asked by reporters if he still stood by Deves, and he responded: “Yes I do”.

“They’re incredibly sensitive, they’re very challenging. We’re talking about gender reversal surgery for young adolescents,” Morrison said. Reporters then rightly pointed out that in Australia gender affirmation surgery was not performed or available to any person below 18. 

‘Thats Is The Correct Terminology’

In an interview with Sky News host Chris Kenny on Monday, Deves had insisted that her comments against the transgender community were “common sense”.

Asked by Kenny about her use of the term “mutilation” for gender affirmation surgery for teenagers (fact: gender affirmation surgery is not performed or available to teenagers under 18), Deves falsely claimed: “Look, that is actually the correct medico legal term.”

“It’s very emotive and it’s very confronting and it’s very ugly. So of course people are going to be offended. But when you look at medical negligence cases, that is the terminology that they use, it is also contained in the Crimes Act of New South Wales,” Deves claimed. 

When Kenny asked her that she was really not apologising or stepping back from the language that she had used against trans people, Deves said: “Well, I’m apologising for how people might have perceived it, and the fact that it is confronting and it is ugly, and I certainly don’t want to hurt anyone’s feelings but that is the correct terminology.”

Deves Claims ‘Quiet Australians’ Agree With Her

Deves has been a proponent of banning trans women and girls from participating in female sport, an issue which has found Morrison’s support. The Prime Minister has previously endorsed Tasmanian senator Claire Chandler’s private member’s bill in Parliament that seeks to ban trans women and girls from participating in female sport. 

“I’m speaking for the quiet Australians,” Deves told Kenny. “Various polls have shown overwhelmingly Australians agree with my position and people are saying that they’re not reading the room.”

“I mean, it’s just common sense. It’s not controversial for women and girls to want to have a female only sports category. And when people understand that is simply what the issue is no one can disagree with that,” said Deves.

In her now deleted tweets, Deves had described surrogacy for gay couples as “a human rights violation” and “a vanity project”.

Deves, in a series of social media posts as well as blogs on her website said trans children were “surgically mutilated”, compared support for trans children to the “stolen generation” and likened her opposition to what she called “gender ideology” to the anti-Nazi resistance.


If you feel distressed reading the story, you can reach out to support services.

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.

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