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Michael Sukkar throws support behind Katherine Deves

Assistant Treasurer Michael Sukkar has thrown his support behind embattled candidate Katherine Deves. Picture: Supplied

Assistant Treasurer Michael Sukkar has thrown his support behind embattled candidate Katherine Deves despite calls for her to be dumped over her anti-trans views.

A string of reports over the past week have brought to several inflammatory comments made by Ms Deves on social media, including one where she likened her lobbying to stop transgender athletes from competing in women’s sport to standing up against the Holocaust.

Ms Deves was hand-picked by a panel including the Prime Minister to be the Liberal candidate for the Sydney seat of Warringah, currently held by independent Zali Steggall after she ousted Tony Abbott.

Embattled candidate Katherine Deves has been urged to step aside. Picture: Supplied
Embattled candidate Katherine Deves has been urged to step aside. Picture: Supplied

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The candidate has since apologised and withdrawn her views but it has quelled calls for her to step aside.

Speaking with 2GB, Mr Sukkar added his name to the list of government frontbenchers, including Scott Morrison himself, that backed the besieged candidate in.

He added that while he had not “scrutinised” all of her statements, he supported the “basic campaign” that Ms Deves has “led for a long time”.

“Absolutely I support Katherine. Katherine is a highly credentialed individual who’s fighting for the rights of women in sport,” Mr Sukkar said.

“That’s an extremely important thing and something that I think has widespread community support.”

On Sunday, Women’s Minister Marise Payne sought to distance herself from Ms Deves controversial comments.

Michael Sukkar has backed in Ms Deves. Picture: NCA NewsWire / David Geraghty
Michael Sukkar has backed in Ms Deves. Picture: NCA NewsWire / David Geraghty

While Senator Payne said she did not share her views and noted the Warringah hopeful had apologised and withdrawn her comments she stopped short of insisting she should be disendorsed.

“It’s a matter for the organisation in NSW. I need to get on with my job. That’s what I’m doing. And I don’t agree with the remarks that she made. I’ve made that explicitly clear,” she told ABC’s Insiders.

Joe Ball, the chief executive of LGBTIQA+ support service Switchboard Victoria, said the organisation had experienced an increase in calls after Ms Deves comments were first reported.

He added trans people like himself had been under a “sustained attack” that started with the introduction of Mr Morrison’s religious discrimination bill.

“People absolutely respond to articles in the media. Whether its politicians arguing about it, or op eds in national papers, those debates have real consequences for real people when they play out at home, in community centres and in religious organisations,” Mr Ball told ABC’s RN.

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