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Liberals sound off on Morrison's "captain's pick" of Katherine Deves

Liberal MPs past and present have shared their thoughts on former Prime Minister Scott Morrison’s decision to pick Katherine Deves as the party’s candidate for Warringah.

On Monday night the ABC aired the third part of their Nemesis series that’s looked into the periods where Tony Abbott, Malcolm Turnbull and Scott Morrison served as the Prime Minister of Australia.

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The final episode of the three-part series focused on Scott Morrison’s time in The Lodge, and covered the criticism he faced when he was ‘missing in action’ during the devastating 2019 bushfires, his government’s handling of the Covid pandemic, and his push for religious discrimination legislation.

Former and current MPs were also asked for their thoughts on Scott Morrison’s decision to endorse Katherine Deves as a candidate at 2022 election. Prior to her selection Deves had built a public profile through her campaigns for transgender women and children to be banned from women’s sport.

Asked if Deves views on transgender people didn’t suit a modern Liberal party, Morrison said he believed most Australians would agree with her views in relation to transgender people participating in sport.

“Katherine’s views, particularly on transgender people in sport, I think are widely supported, and I support them. She’d made some other comments on social media and other things which were quite excessive, and she walked some of those back.” Morrison told the program.

During the election campaign an apology was issued from Deves over her description of transgender people as being “mutilated”.  Later in the campaign she told Sky News that her words were ‘technically correct’ as she was using the language used in medical negligence cases in the United States. After the election she withdrew her apology saying she regrated making it.

Former Foreign Minister Marise Payne said she wished the party had picked a different candidate.

“Were we searching for female candidates, and candidates that represented broad diversity? Yes. And did I want in New South Wales candidates with broad diversity? Yes. Were there other choices? Yes. Would I have preferred them? Yes.” Payne said, asking and answering her own questions.

Dave Sharma, who lost his seat of Wentworth at the election, but later returned as a senator for New South Wales, said the decision to endorse Deves as a “frolic”.

“It ended up being a huge distraction, she didn’t make any headway in Warringah, but it certainly caused some of her candidates in neighbouring seats, including myself, a high degree of damage.”

While some of the politicians proclaimed that Deves has lost the party votes, many of them said the public’s dislike of Morrison had been a big factor in the party’s fall from government.

Dave Sharma, Katie Allen, Fiona Allen, Ken Wyatt, Trent Zimmerman, and Ken Wyatt all told the program constituents were declaring a dislike of Morrison overrode any achievements they had personally made as representatives.

Nemesis can be viewed on the ABC iView. 


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