Steggall says Morrison is using Katherine Deves to avoid real issues

The member for Warringah, Zali Steggall, says the views of Liberal candidate Katherine Deves do not represent those held by electors in the Sydney electorate.

Appearing on ABC Radio National’s Breakfast program Steggall said the Prime Minister was using the divisive ‘Save Women’s Sport’ activist to divide Australian society.

“I have no doubt in my mind that Scott Morrison is using this candidate to deviate from actual issues.” Steggall said.

“This week the media has been dominated by the disgusting comments that Deves has made rather than talking about policies, climate, integrity – these are the issues that will make a difference to our kids lives.”

Steggall said it was important to note that Deves may have issued multiple apologies for the language that she’s used in the past, but her views of transgender people have not changed.

The Independent who unseated former Prime Minister Tony Abbott at last election, said current Prime Minister Scott Morrison was seeking to divide society by backing Deves.

“He is seeking to divide, and vilify our trans children, and they are some of the most vulnerable in our society. Let’s be really clear about this debate, It’s an non-issue. We already have legislation in place to deal with this, and all sporting bodies have in fact said this isn’t an issue, the law and the legislation works, we are able to deal with this on a case by case focusing on wellbeing and fairness in sports.”

“This is a politicised, weaponisation of a side issue, at a time when we have major, major whole of society issues we need to focus on from cost of living to climate and integrity.”

Steggall said as a former Olympian she had no concerns about the way transgender people were currently treated in the sporting realm.

“The reality is we have legislation in place, the Sex Discrimination Act provides for this, and it empowers sporting bodies to deal with this on a case by case basis, and looking at the wellbeing of all involved, all the athletes.” Steggall said.

“Most sporting codes are focusing on making inclusive policies, not excluding people.”

In recent days the selection of Deves has revealed a rift within the Liberal party. Deves was picked as the candidate by Prime Scott Morrison, New South Wales Premier Domonic Perrottet and former party President Chris McDiven.

New South Wales Treasurer Matt Kean called for Deves to be disendorsed, and Foreign Minister Marise Payne appeared reluctant to voice support for the candidate either. But she has gained the support of the Prime Minister, former PM  Tony Abbott and South Australian senator Alex Antic, who declared she was the future of the parliament.

Senator Jane Hume says Deves is passionate about a “cause dear to many people’s hearts”

Senator Jane Hume has also voiced her support for Deves, highlighting that she’s issued several apologies for her past comments.

During a heated exchange on The Project Hume told veteran journalist Ray Martin that while many of Deves past comments were inappropriate she was a passionate advocate for what she believes in.

“Those were totally inappropriate comments and not ones that I agree with,’ Hume 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.’

Hume told host Hamish Macdonald that transgender women’s participation in sport was an important issue.

“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.”

Yesterday on the ABC’s political analysis program Insiders ABC political journalist Andrew Probyn said Deves had not been picked to win Warringah, but to give the Prime Minister a culture war issue to win over conservative voters in the outer suburban seats in Melbourne and Sydney.  

OIP Staff

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