Controversial Liberal candidate Katherine Deves has revealed her family have been forced to move out of Sydney after receiving death threats over her anti-transgender social media posts.
The lawyer, 44, who was handpicked by Scott Morrison to run in the marginal seat of Warringah against Independent MP Zali Steggall, caused a stir after publishing, then deleting, a series of inflammatory tweets.
The comments described transgender people as ‘surgically mutilated and sterilised’, claimed half of men with trans identities were ‘sex offenders’, and compared her pursuit to barring the community from women’s sports to stopping the Holocaust.
Breaking her silence on SBS on Sunday after the scandal sparked calls for her to be disendorsed, Ms Deves admitted her ‘arguments was not conducive to proper, reasonable debate’.
She said the interview with the program had to take place in a secret location as her safety has been jeopardised.
‘I have received death threats, I have had to have the police and AFP involved, my safety has been threatened, my family are way out of Sydney because I don’t want them to witness what I am going through and nor do I want their safety put at risk,’ she said.
Ms Deves said ‘as a mother and woman’ she now realises her arguments were expressed inappropriately and reissued an apology for her ‘hurtful and divisive’ language.
‘It was not the appropriate platform to do so, I have removed myself from that platform and I will not be going back there again,’ she said.
Asked what her message was to young and vulnerable trans kids who may have heard her comments, Ms Deves said her position was about ‘women’s rights’.
‘This is about women ‘s rights. With this issue, we have a collision of rights, and thus far, the voices of women and girls have not been heard,’ she said.
‘And when we have a collision of rights, in liberal democracies, we debate them in a reasonable, measured fashion, and this is what should have taken place is.’
Ms Deves (pictured with her family) said her family have been forced to leave Sydney amid fears for their safety
The apology comes hours after the Prime Minister doubled down on his support for the controversial candidate, despite mounting pressure from some within the Liberal Party to ‘dump her’ from the ticket.
‘Katherine Deves has made her comments about comments she has made in the past and she knows a sensitive approach is required in the future.’
Ms Deves has become a divisive figure following a number of provocative comments on her Twitter account – which she has since deleted.
She once declared trans teenagers are ‘surgically mutilated’ and felt personally ‘triggered’ by the rainbow Pride flag.
The Warringah candidate also bizarrely linked cross-dressing males and and trans women to ‘sexual predators, even serial killers’.
‘Transvestism is very common among sexual predators, even serial killers,’ she said in a historical tweet.