NSW Treasurer Matt Kean has renewed his call for the Liberal Party candidate in the federal seat of Warringah to be disendorsed, saying she is “not fit for office”.
- Katherine Deves has been heavily criticized for her comments about transgender people
- She has apologized but says she will not stand down
- Senior NSW Liberal Matt Kean says Ms Deves’s views do not align with the party’s
Mr Kean said he was “very concerned” Katherine Deves’ continued candidacy threatened the re-election of moderate Liberal MPs at next month’s federal election.
Ms Deves has come under intense scrutiny after a series of social media posts in which she made controversial comments about transgender people came to light and were published in the media.
Among her comments in now-deleted Twitter posts, the lawyer from Sydney’s northern beaches called transgender children “surgically mutilated and sterilized” and claimed half of men who transitioned were sex offenders.
Ms Deves apologized for the “language” she used but has received the backing of Prime Minister Scott Morrison.
“In my dedication to fighting for the rights of women and girls, my language has on occasion been unacceptable. It has hurt people and detracted from my arguments,” Ms Deves said in a statement.
This morning, Mr Kean told RN Breakfast he believed Ms Deves should be disendorsed immediately and labeled some of her comments as “outright bigotry”.
“I do not believe she is fit for office. I do not believe that she is aligned with the values of the Liberal Party,” he said.
Mr Kean highlighted a number of Ms Deves’ posts, including one comparing a legal case overseas involving a transgender child to the “grudge trials of the Third Reich”.
“To compare this issue to one of the worst atrocities in human history is appalling, absolutely disgraceful,” he said.
“We live in a cosmopolitan, multicultural society where people are free to be themselves and that’s a fundamental tenant of liberalism.
“This is not a one-off drunken Twitter rant, this is not a statement made at university 30 years ago.
“This is a series of persistent positions held over a long period and in recent times.”
Mr Kean, a member of the Liberal’s moderate faction, believes the controversy threatens the political fortunes of moderate federal government MPs Dave Sharma and Trent Zimmerman.
Both Mr Sharma and Mr Zimmerman face challenges by independent candidates in their inner-Sydney electorates of Wentworth and North Sydney.
“I do not think having candidates that want to spruik the politics of division is in the interests of the party or in the interests of those people candidates,” he said.
Mr Morrison has defended Ms Deves, saying her concerns about transgender women in women’s sports were “common sense” and hit out at what he called a “pile-on” of criticism.
Former Prime Ministers Tony Abbott, who previously sat in Warringah, and John Howard have also supported Ms Deves’ candidacy.
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