Liberal candidate Katherine Deves has been subjected to horrific abuse since she was hand-picked by Scott Morrison to run in a key Sydney seat, including vile death threats for campaigning to ban transgender athletes from women’s sport.
Katherine Deves has copped a series of horrific tweets in the wake of the controversy
Ms Deves was selected by the Prime Minister as the Liberal candidate for the northern Sydney seat of Warringah, but her position as the Liberal candidate has been attacked on the party’s left because of her controversial views on transgender women.
The would-be MP claimed athletes who are born male have biological advantages and should not be allowed to compete against biological women – a notion which has sparked heated debate across the world.
A series of now-deleted tweets resurfaced from April 2021 where Ms Deves described transgender kids as ‘surgically mutilated and sterilised’, and compared her Protect Women’s Sport movement to standing up against the Holocaust.
She also likened her stance on the issue as being akin to the French Resistance fighters who resisted German occupation during World War II.
The Liberal candidate has since apologised and said her language was ‘not acceptable’ – while doubling-down on her belief that transgender women should not compete in women’s sports.
Her views were slammed by her main political rival and current MP in the seat, Zali Steggall, a former Olympic bronze medallist and Austalia’s best-ever Alpine skier, and she was bombarded with a hundreds of rape and death threats about her views.
Katherine Deves (pictured) has been blasted with death and rape threats for her views on transgender athletes
One Twitter user said ‘helping to set bigots on fire’ is ‘akin to killing vermin’ (comment pictured)
One user tagged Ms Deves on Twitter and wrote: ‘Ask your doctor if dying in fire is right for you.’
When someone stood up for the Liberal candidate, the user added: ‘I have no qualms helping to set bigots on fire … it is akin to killing vermin.’
A NSW Police spokesman said Ms Deves has not made a formal complaint about any threats she received, but added: ‘We don’t condone death threats of any kind.’
The Liberal candidate told supporters in an email on Monday night that she had been ‘bullied in the most vile way’.
Daily Mail Australia has contacted Ms Deves for comment.
While many slammed the Liberal candidate as a ‘bigot’, most managed to disagree with her without threatening her personal safety.
One person said: ‘Breaking: It’s not bullying if you’re a bigot attacking a minority group. You’re just a bad person,’ one person claimed.
Another wrote: ‘The evil of the Katherine Deves issue – so intentional and wicked.’
Others lashed out at Ms Deves, but managed not to threaten her personal safety (pictured)
Someone else said bullying and death threats are ‘not warranted’, but told Ms Deves that it might give her ‘an idea of what transgenders go through’.
‘Katherine Deves claims she is being bullied. Seriously. Your comments about marginalised LGBTIQ+ are way beyond bullying,’ another wrote.
‘You’re being held to account for your heinous comments, is not bullying. You are not a representative of my community in Warringah.’
In the email to supporters, Ms Deves also said: ‘My opponents, parts of the left media and Twittersphere have been unrelenting in calling for me to be disendorsed, because of past statements.’
‘I have been bullied in the most vile way and received death threats. I’m not going anywhere, as the Prime Minister said yesterday.’
On Sunday Ms Steggall was asked if she would have raced against transgender competitors during her ski event in Japan in 1998.
Independent MP Zali Steggall (pictured) said parents concerned about transgender athletes competing in women’s sport are repeating a ‘transphobia line’
Pictured: Zali Steggall during the Women’s Slalom event at the 1999 World Alpine Ski Championships in Vail, Colorado. She would not comment when asked whether she would have competed against transgender athletes
The Independent MP brushed aside the question saying there were ‘bigger issues’ to focus on, including harassment and equal pay and media coverage.
‘I feel there’s a lot of lying going on about the actual status quo, we already have a law. The Sex Discrimination Act already deals with the situation, this is just not an issue,’ Ms Steggall said.
‘And saying that parents will be concerned is just repeating a transphobia line,’ she added – which 2BG host Ben Fordham slammed as a ‘disgraceful slur’.
Fordham told listeners on Tuesday: ‘Parents asking questions about fairness are transphobic according to Zali Steggall.’
‘Zali ignores the uneven playing field when it comes to transgender athletes. When you have someone born a man competing against women you have an unfair advantage.’
The radio host went on to say that prominent transwoman Caitlyn Jenner has gone on the record to say that women and girls in sport ‘should be protected from having to compete against biological men’.
Katherine Deves (pictured with her family) has vowed she’s ‘not going anywhere’, despite growing calls within the Liberal party for her to be disendorsed
2GB host Ben Fordham (pictured) said the independent member for Sydney’s Warringah is ‘off with the fairies’ when it comes to the hot political topic
‘So is Caitlyn Jenner, the most high-profile figure on planet earth, transphobic? Apparently, according to Zali.’
‘Zali Steggall is off with the fairies and she refuses to say if she would have been happy competing against male-born athletes when she was an Olympic skier.’
Other parliamentarians distanced themselves from Ms Deves following the uproar, including NSW Liberal Treasurer Matt Kean who said she is ‘not fit for office’.
Mr Kean told RN Breakfast on Monday morning that he believed Ms Deves’ comments are ‘outright bigotry’.
‘I do not believe she’s fit for office. I do not believe that she is aligned with the values of the Liberal Party,’ he said.
‘We live in a cosmopolitan, multicultural society where people are free to be themselves and that’s a fundamental tenant of liberalism.’
There are also unconfirmed reports from multiple sources North Sydney MP Trent Zimmerman asked the prime minister’s office to dump Ms Deves.
In September 2021, Ms Deves criticised a decision by a Western Australia court to dismiss an appeal by parents whose transgender child was put into foster care
In April 2021, Ms Deves tweeted about an overseas trial where a Canadian father was taken to court for not supporting his teenager transitioning
This is the tweet in which Ms Deves made her controversial comments about transgender teenagers. She shared a picture of a trans American teenager who had just had breasts removed and wrote: ‘This photo just hit my feed. It is beyond heartbreaking.’
NSW Liberal President Chris Stone has also reportedly been urged to ask Ms Deves to step down amid fears her controversial comments will haunt the campaign.
‘It is apparent to me and others in the Party I speak with that, unfortunately, Katherine Deves needs to be replaced as the candidate for Warringah,’ Neutral Bay branch president Simon Moore wrote in an email to Mr Stone.
‘Her numerous statements about transgender people are offensive and can’t be condoned.
‘They are not in line with broader community sentiment, particularly in Warringah. Whilst she has apologised for these statements, they are so recent and numerous that they will continue to haunt the campaign, not just in Warringah but elsewhere.’
Foreign Minister Marise Payne also distanced herself from Ms Deves, saying she did not share her views.
‘As the prime minister said yesterday, in public life, we do have to be very careful about the way we express our opinions. Most importantly, we have to exercise sensitivity and respect,’ Payne said on Sunday.
‘And in this case, in the case of the massively complex and extremely challenging issues that accompany any individual’s decisions about transition and transgender issues, overwhelmingly that has to be the approach that we take – one of sensitivity and one of respect. And that is my view.’
In his strongest comments the issue yet, Mr Morrison on Tuesday said Warringah candidate Katherine Deves would be a ‘great member of Parliament’ and doubled down on his support for the embattled MP.
Foreign minister Marise Payne has distance herself from Ms Deves, saying she does not share her views
Mr Morrison (pictured on Tuesday) has again backed his captain’s pick in his strongest comments so far on the issue
‘I’m not going to allow her to be pushed aside as the pile on comes in to try and silence her.
‘I will stand up with her, my team is standing up with her, and we will make sure that she won’t be silenced.’
Ms Deves co-founded the group Save Women’s Sport which aims to stop transgender women competing alongside biological women.
‘She is standing up for women and girls and their access to fair sport in this country,’ Mr Morrison said.
‘I think she will make a great Member of Parliament, she has learned in her advocacy in her private life there are better ways to do things to take things forward as a Member of Parliament.
‘I believe that is how she will approach the task if she is elected as the member for Warringah, and I don’t think she should be silenced,’ he said.
Ms Deves also has support on the party’s conservative wing with former Prime Ministers John Howard and Tony Abbott backing her stance.