Election 2022: Mark Latham slams Matt Kean for turning on Katherine Deves over transgender comments

Mark Latham has slammed NSW Treasurer Matt Kean as a hypocrite over his calls for the Liberal party to disendorse Liberal federal candidate Katherine Deves from running in the seat of Warringah.

 Matt Kean, who is a leader of the Liberals ‘moderate’ faction, has been one of the most outspoken critics of Ms Deves, a Sydney lawyer, mum and co-founder of the Protect Women’s Sport organisation, which campaigns against trans women being allowed to compete against females in sport.

Ms Deves has shut down her social media and has apologised for the language she used in a series of tweets from April 2021 emerged where she described transgender kids as ‘surgically mutilated and sterilised’, and compared her Protect Women’s Sport movement to standing up against the Holocaust. 

On Wednesday night, Kean double down on his condemnation of Ms Deves, describing her language as inappropriate. Mr Kean has previously accused her of ‘outright bigotry’. 

But NSW One Nation leader Mark Latham lashed out at Mr Kean calling the ‘green Liberal’ a hypocrite in the wake of the Treasurer’s sexting scandal in 2018.

NSW Treasurer Matt Kean (pictured left) has stood by his calls for a controversial Liberal candidate running in the federal election to be disendorsed

Mr Kean became embroiled in a sex scandal after a former girlfriend exposed his explicit text messages to a parliamentary colleague Eleni Petinos, telling her: ‘I need to f*** you’.

‘If we review some of the text messages he sent back in the day to one of his female state parliamentary colleagues… they caused his then partner to erupt and put them in the media. 

‘So you can, on the basis of unacceptable language, get rid of Katherine Deves, but Matt Kean would have to go with her. So you can disendorse them both,’ Mr Latham told Sky News’ Peta Credlin on Wednesday night. 

‘This guy is a hypocrite, he’s a green Liberal and he’s playing some weird moderate factional game on the north shore of Sydney about Deves, saying it’s all about language.

‘But the unfortunate thing in the NSW government is that Kean has the numbers with this left wing moderate faction and  he’s got Dominic Perrottet in a political coffin.

‘He’s got Perrottet captive with these numbers.

‘And apparently Kean can go out and say whatever he likes about about any issue on any occasion, running loose and breaking all forms of cabinet solidarity and common sense inside the Liberals in the middle of a federal election campaign.’

Mr Latham claimed it was leading to a build-up enormous resentment within the Liberals backbench about the lack of control of the Treasurer.

Matt Kean double back on his condemnation on Wednesday night when he described Katherine Deves' comments as inappropriate

Matt Kean double back on his condemnation on Wednesday night when he described Katherine Deves’ comments as inappropriate

Ms Credlin agreed with Mr Latham’s views and said it was rich of Mr Kean to be giving advice on respectful debate and good behaviour.

‘If he thinks Katherine Deves’ comments, for which she has apologised y,disqualify her from high office, then he should already be gone. That’s the standard he needs to uphold,’ she said.

Their comments were sparked by Mr Kean’s earlier appearance on Chris Kenny’s Sky News program where he refused to withdraw calls to disendorse Ms Deves.

‘These are consistent references that have been made over a long period of time and recently,’ he said.

‘We can have these debates and we should have them robustly but there is a line and I think hate speech or hurtful speech is inappropriate in our public discourse.

‘We can be better than that. You and I are having robust discussion Chris and that’s what we want in out democracy.

‘But there are ways to carry it out and I’m saying I don’t think the way that individual carried out this debate was helpful or appropriate in the public discourse.’

Mark Latham (pictured) believes Matt Kean should also go if Katherine Deves is disendorsed

Mark Latham (pictured) believes Matt Kean should also go if Katherine Deves is disendorsed

Mr Kean’s comments put him at loggerheads with his leader Dominic Perrottet, who along with Prime Minister Scott Morrison was part committee who handpicked Ms Deves to run in former Prime Minister Tony Abbott’s seat on Sydney’s northern beaches.

However, Kean said he stands by his calls for Ms Deves to be disendorsed.

‘I’ve made my position clear, the Prime Minister has made his position clear, and now it’s up to the people of Warringah to make their decision on whether they think these comments are appropriate,’ Mr Kean said.

Mr Perrottet has played down a disagreement with his treasurer over the issue of transwomen in sport, saying different views are welcome in the Liberal party.

Katherine Deves (pictured) has since apologised for her previous comments about transgender athletes

Katherine Deves (pictured) has since apologised for her previous comments about transgender athletes

‘Matt, like me, in the past, I have to be a bit careful now, likes having opinions,’ he said.

‘You want colour and you want ideas in public life.’

He added that politicians in public life have a responsibility to engage in public debate sensitively, particularly with ‘incredibly delicate’ topics.

Mr Perrottet’s comments came after it was revealed he had texted Mr Morrison to reassure him of his backing over his approach to transwomen in sport.

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