This is Katherine Deves, anti-transgender campaigner, hard-line right-winger and now Prime Minister Scott Morrison’s “captain’s pick” for the seat of Warringah, currently held by independent MP Zali Steggall, who in turn won it from former Prime Minister Tony Abbott.
Deves is head of an organisation that calls itself “Save Women’s Sports Australasia”, which is lobbying to have transgender women banned from playing as women in sport.
This is an issue close to Morrison’s heart. In February he backed Tasmanian Senator Claire Chandler’s private members bill to allow sporting organisations to exclude transgender people from single-sex sports, saying the bill was “terrific”.
In the meantime, posts on Deves’s Twitter account have surfaced comparing herself, as an anti-trans activist, to the anti-Nazi resistance fighters of France during the Second World War. Deves later apologised for the comments, saying she was sorry if her opinions hurt anyone but that, “I commit to continuing the fight for the safety of girls and women”.
She deleted the comments comparing herself to a fighter against the Nazis, but a video is still up on YouTube where she is saying the same thing again.
Deves was forced to make another apology when another Twitter post surfaced in which she described transgender children as “surgically mutilated and sterilised”. She deleted that comment but kept the comment she posted on January 16 which said: “Half of all transgender people who are biologically men have committed sexual assault on women.”
After this third revelation she deleted her whole Twitter account.
Since she attained the Liberal Party endorsement for Warringah she has opened a new Facebook account, KatherineDeves4Warringah, in which she continues her transphobic crusade as well as ranting against the ABC, Wear it Purple Day and teaching tolerance in education.
After Deves’ second apology it was reported in the Australian Financial Review on April 13 that: “Scott Morrison has distanced himself from anti-transgender legislation being pushed by conservative Liberal MPs, saying a plan to block trans women playing community sport won’t be supported by the government.”
Yet it was reported on April 12 that “Morrison doubles down on trans women sport ban in a bid to appease religious groups”. The Prime Minister appears to have back-flipped twice on this in the same week.
Anti-trans isn’t the end of it as far as Deves is concerned. Another tweet has surfaced from May 2021 in which she says she is “triggered by the rainbow pride flag”.
She told 10 News First on April 15 that she is fighting the whole LGBTQI+ community: “I feel like this is like a fight against a hydra — we cut off one head & we end up with two. So we need to go for the immortal head & bury it forever ... chop it off, and bury it under a rock.”
Amid calls from Liberal moderates to disendorse Deves for her extreme and divisive views, Morrison, as late as April 16, said that Deves continues to have his full support and went further to accuse Labor of being disrespectful towards her.
It is ironic that Pauline Hanson was disendorsed by the Liberal party in 1996 for far less than this.