Warringah’s controversial Liberal candidate Katherine Deves says she’s not transphobic and just wants to have a ‘respectful debate’ about women’s sport.
“This argument is about women and girls,” Deves, who apologized for old tweets falsely claiming “half of all men with a trans identity are sex offenders,” said on 2GB radio Friday. morning.
“Women and girls should have the right to have a dedicated women’s sport class for player safety and fair competition.”
When asked if she was transphobic, she replied, “Of course not…it’s not about that.”
“In the early ’90s, I was going to Mardi Gras…I voted for same-sex marriage,” Deves said.
“I have no problem with that. But this is a collision of rights.
Treasurer Josh Frydenberg refused to back Deves’ continued candidacy when asked this morning whether the Liberal Party should dump her, while condemning her “inappropriate” references to the Holocaust.
“This language is inappropriate,” Frydenberg, who was born in Australia to Jewish parents, told ABC radio this morning.
He said that while there was a legitimate debate to be had about fairness in women’s sport, “when you start bringing in those analogies, or that level of terminology, I think both diminish the person who is arguing that it also distracts from the real issues at stake.”
Deves reportedly agreed to visit the Jewish Museum in Sydney after new tweets were discovered, in which she referred to Jewish schoolgirl Anne Frank, who died in a Nazi concentration camp in 1945.
When asked why the Liberal party was running a candidate who was “now exploiting the death of Anne Frank,” Frydenberg said the use of Holocaust analogies was “largely inappropriate…in the political context current contemporary”.
Deves’ references to Nazism were “insensitive, and they are unacceptable,” the treasurer said.
In Friday’s radio interview, Deves said her concern about transgender participation in women’s sport was about “equality and fairness.”
“Women and girls shouldn’t have to face a discrimination court when they just want to have an all-female team… All I’ve ever wanted is for this debate to happen in the public domain.”
Asked if she agreed that existing laws already protected sportswomen who formed women-only clubs, Deves replied: “There is legislation in place, but it’s not working the way it should. “
She said her previous controversial Twitter comments were made “as a private person not considering that I would end up raising my hand to run for politics”.
Deves said she wanted to “move on” from the social media controversy and that “Twitter is not a place where you should be pursuing tough arguments.”
“I apologized and I think we just need to conduct these debates going forward in a respectful and dignified manner,” she said.