Prime Minister Scott Morrison has continued to back his ‘captain’s pick’ candidate Katherine Deves despite calls to dis-endorse the Liberal candidate for Warringah due to her past anti-LGBTQI comments.
“This is a woman standing up for women and girls in sport,” Morrison told the media, adding that he would not be joining the “pile on” calling for Deves to be dis-endorsed.
“There are ways she has expressed in the past that she no longer feels comfortable with,” Morrison said, and pointed out that Deves had withdrawn the statements.
Trigger Warning: This story discusses homophobic and 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.
In an email to her party members, that was reported by the Sydney Morning Herald, Deves claimed she had been bullied and cited Morrison’s backing to say that she would not stand down, as demanded by some party members.
Anthony Albanese Speaks Out
Deves’ opponent Wentworth independent candidate Allegra Spender called out Morrison over his continued support to the Liberal candidate.
“On Katherine Deves, Scott Morrison has now dug his heels in and our local member is nowhere to be seen. My guarantee to Wentworth is I will always stand up against homophobia and transphobia,” Spender posted on Twitter.
— Allegra Spender (@spenderallegra) April 17, 2022
Some in Morrison’s party have questioned his support for Deves. “There is no place in a mainstream political party for bigotry. Coming out as Trans would be hugely challenging, especially for kids, and political leaders should be condemning the persecution of people based on their gender, not participating in it,” said NSW Treasurer and Liberal MP for Hornsby Matt Kean.
Transphobic Posts On Social Media
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.
“This will go down in history as akin to the Grudge trials of the Third Reich. I do not like to invoke Nazism, but the parallels are remarkable & deeply sinister,” Deves tweeted in April 2021, in response to the news of a Canadian man jailed for speaking about his child’s transition, in violation of an order of the court.
In a tweet in September 2021, Deves commented on the case of a trans child who was taken into the care of the state in Western Australia. “Australia has a very dark history of children being taken from their families by the state (because) bureaucrats thought they knew better. Don’t we owe it to lessons of the past, such as our shameful stolen generation scandal, to stop the destruction of families for flawed beliefs?” Deves tweeted.
She also flasely claimed that Canadian actor and The Umbrella Academy star Elliot Page was “paid” to come out as transgender. In another post, she said she was “triggered” by the the LGBTQI Rainbow Pride flag.
“My advocacy for the rights and safety of women and girls is well known, and I stand by my desire to ensure we protect the safety of women and girls and our entire community. However, the language I used was not acceptable, and for that I apologise,” Deves said in a statement.
Snap Protest Against Deves In Sydney
Community Action for Rainbow Rights (CARR) has called for a snap protest against Deves on April 21 at 12 pm starting outside the Steyne Hotel on the Corso in Manly.
“These bigoted comments are not from decades ago but literally this year, last year and the year before that, revealing that Deves has deeply held and longstanding anti-LGBTI views,” said April Holcombe co-convenor of CARR in a statement.
“It’s a disgrace that she is a candidate in this year’s federal election, and even more disgraceful that Deves is being backed by Scott Morrison.”
Holcombe said that Deves’ comments were part of a “broader right wing campaign” against LGBTQI rights. “These campaigns have been repeatedly rejected by the majority of people in Australia but right wing bigots continue to push for attacks on trans rights in sport, education and employment. This discrimination has to be defeated not promoted by politicans.”
“Unfortunately as we saw during the religious discrimination bill debate, both major parties have shown a willingness to throw LGBTI people under the bus in order to suck up to a minority of right wing bigots. We need to keep fighting against transphobia and to make sure we defend and extend LGBTI equality and not see it eroded,” added Holcombe.
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.