Natalie Barr confronts Scott Morrison for backing candidate slammed for ‘transphobic’ comments

Natalie Barr has questioned Scott Morrison’s support for a Liberal candidate who criticized the transgender community during a fiery live interview.

The Sunrise host asked the Prime Minister why he hadn’t disendorsed federal candidate for Warringah Katherine Deves who was recently slammed for a series of ‘transphobic’ social media posts.

Mr Morrison pointed to the fact Ms Deves was raising three daughters of her own, had a law degree and that she continued to advocate for women and girls in sport.

‘There are comments she’s made in the past that she’s been very clear about were insensitive and that’s not how she would seek to continue to pursue those issues, to stand up for women and girls in sports,’ he told the host on Friday morning.

Mr Morrison said Liberal candidate for Warringah Katherine Deves had made it ‘very clear’ she understood her comments made about the transgender community were ‘insensitive’

‘And lots of people have trolled over her old posts and all of those things, she’s made it very clear that she believes that they are insensitive.

‘I think she should be given the opportunity to be heard on her own merits now as she’s putting herself forward as a Liberal candidate there in Warringah.’

Mr Morrison said Ms Deves knew that now she was standing for public office she needed to be more sensitive when speaking on such issues.

‘For what particular purpose mostly? So it doesn’t detract from the big point she’s making which is about having common sense when it comes to women and girls playing sports in this country and getting a fair go, ‘the prime minister said.

‘We can’t be running around all the time walking on eggshells on everything, it’s been quite a pile on as you’ve seen.

‘I’m not joining that pile on, and she has said that’s not how she wants to pursue it.’

Barr agreed that people made mistakes and sometimes said the wrong thing but suggested Ms Deves’ comments pointed to her beliefs, which was different.

Sunrise host Natalie Barr agreed that people made mistakes and sometimes said the wrong thing but suggested Ms Deves' comments pointed to her beliefs, which was different

Sunrise host Natalie Barr agreed that people made mistakes and sometimes said the wrong thing but suggested Ms Deves’ comments pointed to her beliefs, which was different

‘This is a practical issue of women and girls in sport and trying to get some common sense arrangements so girls and women get a fair go,’ Mr Morrison replied.

‘That’s what it’s actually about at the end of the day. Now, those who disagree with her on that, I suspect they’re the ones who’ve been traveling over all her old comments and all of that for one simple purpose, so that they could take her out of the debate.

‘Now, I’m not going to allow that to happen. I think a lot of Australians sometimes feel that they haven’t expressed things well in the past.

‘And so they walk around on eggshells in the office, they walk around on eggshells in their community and feel that they just can’t, you know, be themselves.

‘And we all have to be sensitive about these things. But at the end of the day, this election is not about any of those issues.

This election, frankly, is about the economy and what it means for Australians in the economy that we’re living about. ‘

Katherine Deves (pictured) has since issued public apologies over her choice of language but Mr Morrison is standing by the embattled candidate

Katherine Deves (pictured) has since issued public apologies over her choice of language but Mr Morrison is standing by the embattled candidate

The fiery clash comes just hours after Mr Morrison said he would prefer for his two daughters not to compete with transgender athletes while engaging in sports.

The prime minister faced questioning over the highly-contentious debate currently raging in Australian politics as he fronted reporters in Brisbane on Thursday.

Asked whether he would feel comfortable with his children Abbey, 13, and Lily, 11, going up against transgender girls, the PM said he believes athletes should stick to their biological cohort.

‘Well, sports will make their decisions, but my preference is for girls to play girls, for women to play women, boys to play boys, and men to play men,’ he said.

‘I don’t think it’s a terribly remarkable statement. I think it is common sense. ‘

However, the PM said he wants ‘those who are trans to participate in sport as well’.

‘I want them to have opportunities for inclusion in sport,’ Mr Morrison explained. But we’ve also got to have some common sense here. It’s pretty straight forward. ‘

The fiery clash comes just hours after Mr Morrison said he would prefer for his two daughters (pictured with his wife Jenny) to not compete with transgender athletes while playing sports

The fiery clash comes just hours after Mr Morrison said he would prefer for his two daughters (pictured with his wife Jenny) to not compete with transgender athletes while playing sports

Ms Deves previously compared her organization, designed to exclude trans people from sport, to the French resistance groups during the Nazi occupation.

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 sterilized’ after undergoing ‘top surgery’ to remove their breasts.

The Liberal candidate has since apologized 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 medalist and Austalia’s best-ever Alpine skier.

Ms Deves has also been bombarded with hundreds of rape and death threats about her views and said she had been bullied ‘in the most vile way’.

NSW Treasurer Matt Kean last week said he believed Ms Deves should be disendorsed, saying there was no place in mainstream political parties for bigotry.

‘Political leaders should be condemning the persecution of people based on their gender, not participating in it,’ the treasurer said.

Mr Kean stood by his comments on Wednesday, telling News Corp the language she had used was inappropriate.

‘Invoking the Holocaust, one of the worst atrocities in human history, is offensive to those who lost loved ones,’ he said.

A series of now-deleted tweets (pictured) resurfaced from April 2021 where Ms Deves described transgender kids as 'surgically mutilated and sterilized' after undergoing surgery

A series of now-deleted tweets (pictured) resurfaced from April 2021 where Ms Deves described transgender kids as ‘surgically mutilated and sterilized’ after undergoing surgery

Labor leader Chris Minns was asked on 2GB this week if he believed transgender people, born male, might have an advantage during sporting competitions.

‘Look I think it’s a complicated issue, but the simple fact is … when young male adolescents go through puberty, they have a large amount of a natural chemical called testosterone,’ he said.

‘It’s a powerful, natural, anabolic steroid and there’s simply not enough preparation training, dieting or natural skill for female athletes to overcome that competitive advantage.

‘It’s no one’s fault, it’s just a problem of biology.’

Swimming legend Dawn is the latest name in sport to weigh in on the contentious debate which continues to linger at the forefront of election debates.

The four-time Olympic gold medal winner said she agreed with decorated champion Emma McKeon that biological men shouldn’t be allowed to race against women.

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