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The debate around embattled Liberal candidate Katherine Deves and her comments about transgender people continues with the NSW premier weighing in.
Ms Deves, the prime minister’s “captain’s pick” for the seat of Warringah on Sydney’s north shore, has apologised for disparaging remarks about trans women in sport.
Premier Dominic Perrottet was then asked whether this debate was causing conflict in the party, to which he responded people should be able to hold different views.
“You want colour, and you want ideas on public life, otherwise how boring government would be and ultimately you want people with fresh ideas in public life,” he said.
“Now in relation to this issue, obviously from my position I’ve made this very clear, girls should play sport against girls and women should play sport against women.”
Ms Deves runs a lobby group called Save Women’s Sport, and was forced to apologise for several now-deleted social media posts, including ones where she likened the battle to stop transgender athletes from competing in women’s sports to standing up against the Holocaust.
Mr Perrottet went on to say politicians have an obligation to “participate in a way that is sensitive particularly in areas that are incredibly delicate”, adding “there are strong views on both sides”.
“When you are dealing with issues that are delicate, it’s incredibly important that we are sensitive in our language and we are sensitive when we are engaging in these discussions,” he said.
“Different views and different perspectives is what diversity is all about.”
Prime Minister Scott Morrison also reiterated his support for Ms Deves, saying people don’t want to “walk on eggshells” and she shouldn’t be “cancelled” for her beliefs.
“She’s made a number of remarks in the past, and on a number of occasions, not in the majority, she’s stepped over the line, and she’s acknowledged that,” he said.
“To go forward as a member of Parliament, that is something you need to learn. That these issues are important, that you need to be able to deal with them with respect for others, to be compassionate in terms of the feelings of others.
“But what I won’t allow, what I won’t allow, is for those who are seeking to cancel Katherine simply because she has a different view to them on the issue of women and girls in sport.
“I’m not going to indulge that because you know in this country, I think Australians are getting pretty fed-up with having to walk on eggshells everyday because they may or may not say something one day that’s going to upset someone.”
Earlier today, 2GB’s Ben Fordham accused Matt Kean of trying to “cancel” Ms Deves and asked the treasurer: “When did you become so sensitive and so woke?”
Mr Kean said he and the prime minister were in agreement that her previous comments were “abhorrent” and that he was not trying to undermine the party.
“Comparing your opponents to Nazis is not acceptable, or comparing your cause to the Holocaust, one of the worst atrocities in human history is not acceptable,” he said.