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Liberal candidate Kristy McSweeney sends false quote to media

Kristy McSweeney

Liberal candidate for Swan, Kristy McSweeney, responded to OUTinPerth’s coverage of her interview with Sky News last month by highlighting a quote from her interview.

One small problem, she never actually said the quoted words.

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The aspiring politician posted directly to OUTinPerth’s story on Facebook saying, “Here’s a direct quote from my interview.”

McSweeney claimed that she had said “some people identify as other and we should recognise and respect people who do.”

After people reacted to her claim, the post was deleted, but not before readers had captured screenshots of her statement.

In her interview with Sky News host Cory Bernardi, McSweeney did make a brief mention of respecting minorities, but did not acknowledge there are people who identify outside the binary of male and female. Here’s what she actually said.

“We have to respect minorities but overwhelmingly I’m pretty sure Cory if you and I walked down the street, particularly in the electorate of Swan, I could just about tell you who was a woman and who was a man. It’s pretty basic, If you want to sit in the Australian Parliament that’s probably a skill you have to learn first.”

OUTinPerth reached out to McSweeney and asked why she was making up quotes. Given her long career in journalism and political communications, the candidate would surely be aware of what a direct quote is?

We also acknowledged McSweeney’s statement that she’s a known friend and supporter of the gay community, but given the subject matter of her comments asked if she considered herself a friend of the trans and gender diverse community?

Despite multiple requests for comment via email and phone we received no response. Eventually we received an SMS to say she’d been having technical issues with her phone messages.  Still – no answers to any of our inquiries.

Sweeney’s statement that she’s a known friend and supporter of the gay community, was not completely unfounded though.

We did receive a letter from a reader outlining that McSweeney was indeed “a massive supporter of the LGBT community, supports SSM and has more gay friends than just about any member of parliament.”

The reader said OUTinPerth had “cherry picked” the comments from the Sky News interview, and deliberately omitted sections where McSweeney had made it “clear that people who identify as genders other than male and female should be respected”.

To clarify that we had used all of the quotes in McSweeney’s Bernardi interview, we highlighted the sections we had used in bold, and confirmed that McSweeney had not been misquoted.

Well, Cory, as you know, I’m a Liberal candidate for Swan. I’m running as a backbencher not leader. But of course, everything starts with leading your community and your community is made up of men and women. And I don’t have any problems going around the electorate of Swan and pointing out who’s a woman and who’s a man. Of course, there are people who identify as otherwise, that’s a very, very small minority. And we shouldn’t make overarching rules or not be able to answer public statements. To cater to very, very small minorities. We have to respect minorities, but overwhelmingly, I’m pretty sure Cory, if you and I walked down the street, particularly in the electorate of Swan, I could just about tell you who was a woman and who was the man. It’s pretty basic. If you want to sit in the Australian Parliament, that’s probably a skill you have to learn first.

After a spot of fact checking it was revealed that the concerned reader works at McSweeney’s communication company, and also had Liberal Party Campaign Manager listed on their LinkedIn profile as one of their roles. They appear in multiple photographs and videos on McSweeney’s campaign page.

Asked by OUTinPerth if they had any connection to the McSweeney campaign, they denied having any formal connections, but said they often attended campaign events as a supporter.

OUTinPerth are not alone in struggling to get any responses from Kristy McSweeney. Channel Ten’s The Project also recently shared that she was unavailable for an appearance.


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