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A small gathering of Liberal party stalwarts has come together in Sydney to show their support in an odd new campaign video for controversial candidate Katherine Deves.
The group of eleven humans and two dogs required more than a little direction as they clustered around Ms Deves to ‘recite’ prepared lines.
Unfortunately for Ms Deves, who has come to prominence for her views on transgender people, they fluffed the lines.
The Liberal candidate for Warringah has been subjected to vile rape and death threats since she was announced and was keen to be seen with supporters.
A gathering of supporters for Liberal candidate Katherine Deves (pictured centre with dark jacket and scarf)
In the video, after a few mumbles of ‘We love Katherine’, one louder voice took over.
‘She… we love Katherine. She is our candidate,’ the woman said, sounding more robotic than enthusiastic.
‘OK,’ she continues, looking for more support, then counts her colleagues in. ‘One, two, three. Go.’
Liberal candidate for Warringah Katherine Deves (pictured)
The ensembled voices only manage to raise a barely audible mutter of ‘We love Katherine. She is our candidate.’
The louder voice returns, trying to gee up the others. ‘She’s our candidate,’ she said in as full-throated a shout as she could manage.
‘Yes. For Warringah,’ a male voice mumbles.
‘That’s it,’ the loud woman replies.
But Ms Deves, who went from unknown to national headlines when parts of her past resurfaced, is not lacking in name recognition.
She has been subjected to horrific abuse since she was hand-picked by Scott Morrison to run in the key seat of Warringah on Sydney’s Northern Beaches.
Warringah was a blue ribbon Liberal seat until independent Zali Steggall beat former Prime Minister Tony Abbott in the 2019 federal election.
Winning it back would help the Coalition to retain power as it is predicted to lose seats in other states.
The abuse Ms Deves has been subjected to has more to do with her campaigning to ban transgender athletes from women’s sport and other comments on transgender people than her being a Liberal candidate, though.
She said athletes who are born male have biological advantages and should not be allowed to compete against biological women – a notion which has sparked heated debate across the world.
In a series of now-deleted tweets from April 2021 Ms Deves described transgender children as ‘surgically mutilated and sterilised’.
And in a YouTube interview she compared her Protect Women’s Sport movement to standing up against the Holocaust.
She also likened her stance on the issue as being akin to the French Resistance fighters who resisted German occupation during World War II.
She later apologised and said her language was ‘not acceptable’. Ms Deves also restated her belief that transgender women should not compete in women’s sports.
Liberal candidate Katherine Deves (pictured) has been subjected to vile rape and death threats
Pictured is some of the vile abuse Liberal candidate Katherine Deves has been subjected to
As her views were made public, Ms Deves was criticised by Ms Steggall, the Labor and Greens parties and from within her own Liberal Party.
But Mr Morrison, for whom she was a ‘captain’s pick’, has stood by her.
Ms Deves has since been subjected to hundreds of vile rape and death threats and is now said to be staying at an undisclosed location for the safety of her and her family.
Liberal candidate Katherine Deves is pictured speaking on SBS television, where she spoke about the vile attacks she has been subjected to
One of the threats to Ms Deves said ‘If you ever comment transphobic s*** on my feed again I’ll burn you and stick my girl c*** down your neck.’
The same troll also called her a ‘c***’, a ‘witch’ and a ‘TERF’ – an acronym meaning trans-exclusionary radical feminist, which is used to describe feminists who reject the assertion that trans women are women.
Another troll took to Twitter under a pseudonym to say ‘I have no qualms helping to set bigots on fire … It’s akin to killing vermin.’
Independent Warringah MP Zali Steggall (pictured) has criticised her Liberal opponent Katherine Deves over her comments on transgender people
Her opponent, Ms Steggall, is a former Olympic bronze medallist.
She criticised Ms Deves’ views on transgender athletes, but did not say if she would have competed against trans athletes herself.
Ms Steggall said Ms Deves should be disendorsed over her comments.
‘The fact that she deleted her previous social media accounts shows that she knew just how toxic, ill-informed and offensive her comments and views were,’ she said.
‘(Scott Morrison) either knew her views and selected her anyway, or he wasn’t properly informed and made a flawed decision.’
Katherine Deves (pictured) said her family’s ‘safety has been threatened’ since she became the Liberal candidate for Warringah on Sydney’s Northern Beaches
Speaking on SBS television last weekend, Ms Deves said her husband and their three daughters had to flee Sydney due to threats to her and them.
‘I have received death threats. I have had to have the police and the AFP involved. My safety has been threatened.
‘My family are away out of Sydney because I don’t want them to witness what I’m going through nor do I want their safety put at risk,’ she said.
The SBS interview was the only one she has done since elements of her past started appearing in the media.
‘I went from having a small platform in a certain demographic to suddenly being the political candidate who was second only to the prime minister in terms of the press coverage,’ she said.
‘We’ve wanted that to die down a little bit before I responded to the media inquiries.’