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A Liberal Senator has copped a barrage of criticism on The Project after she leapt to the defence of a controversial party candidate.
There are growing calls for Katherine Deves to be disendorsed as the Liberal candidate for the northern Sydney seat of Warringah over her previous anti-transgender remarks.
She shut down her social media and was forced to apologise this week after historic tweets emerged of Ms Deves describing transgender children as ‘surgically mutilated and sterilised and compared lobbying to stop transgender athletes from competing in women’s sport to standing up against the Holocaust.
Liberal Senator Jane Hume jumped to Ms Deves’ defence when she appeared on The Project on Sunday night, sparking a fiery clash with program host Hamish Macdonald.
Liberal candidate for Warringah Katherine Deves (pictured) has come under heavy fire for anti-transgender comments
The senator conceded Ms Deves’ comments were inappropriate but then said the candidate was a passionate advocate for fairness and equality in women’s sport.
Mr Macdonald accused the senator of coming up with excuses for Ms Deves.
‘I’m asking you right now about whether you really believe this is a feminist campaign for sport, or something that dresses up what is ultimately about division and hate, that is bigotry dressed up as feminism?,’ he asked.
Senator Hume played down the question to fire a shot at Labor candidate for Hunter, Dan Repacholi who’s also under heavy fire over old social media posts, including one where he dubbed India a ‘s***hole’.
‘Isn’t it extraordinary that nobody is talking about the Labor candidate for Hunter, who has also had to delete his social media and Facebook pages for vile and sexist comments, yet no-one seems to be talking about that,’ she replied.
Liberal Senator Jane Hume (pictured) faced backlash for her support of the controversial candidate on The Project
Mr Macdonald said Labor would face a similar grilling about Mr Repacholi if they were on the program before repeating his earlier question.
‘I’m asking you right now about whether you really believe this is a feminist campaign for sport, or something that dresses up what is ultimately about division and hate, that is bigotry dressed up as feminism?’ he repeated.
Senator Hume replied: ‘Surely, Hamish, you would agree that the idea of women and girls competing fairly and equally in sport is important.
‘Now, we think, the government thinks, not Katherine Deves, the government thinks that sport should be inclusive. That it should be fair and that it should be equal.
‘Were her comments correct? No. Were they acceptable? Absolutely not. Have they been deleted? Yes. Has she apologised for them and acknowledged that they were insensitive? Yes, she has done all of those things.’
Earlier in the interview, Senator Hume also copped a grilling from respected veteran journalist Ray Martin who described Ms Deves’ comments as a cruel attack.
‘She described transgender children as surgically mutilated and sterilised and said lobbying against them was like standing up against the Holocaust,’ he said.
‘That’s not a slip of the tongue. You’ve got to think that one out.
‘Transgender children would be amongst the most vulnerable in our society.
‘There’s nothing positive about this. It’s a cruel attack on children.’
Senator Jane Hume’s support for Katherine Deves sparked a war of words with The Project’s Hamish Macdonald (pictured)
Senator Hume agreed Ms Deves’ comments were insensitive.
‘Those were totally inappropriate comments and not ones that I agree with,’ she said.
‘However, I think we can safely say that Katherine is an advocate for something that is dear to many people’s hearts, which is that women and girls can compete fairly and equally in sport. And that’s what she was talking about.
‘Did she say it in the right way? No, not at all. It was entirely inappropriate. But she’s a passionate advocate for this issue.’
Earlier on Sunday, minister for women Marise Payne was repeatedly asked on ABC’s Insiders program whether Ms Deves should be dumped.
She believes it’s a matter for the NSW Liberals.
‘It’s a matter for the organisation in NSW,’ Senator Payne told the program
‘I need to get on with my job. That’s what I’m doing. And I don’t agree with the remarks that she made. I’ve made that explicitly clear.’
Senator Hume agreed party candidate Katherine Deves’ (pictured) comments at the time were insensitive and inappropriate