Reporters repeatedly asked the candidate for the Sydney seat of Warringah whether she stood by her views, if she would apologise, and if she was sorry for
Ms Deves refused to answer any of the questions directed at her and was promptly escorted out of the building by security.
She previously made comments on social media about transgender people, including suggesting trans children have been “surgically mutilated and sterilised” as well as likening advocating against transgender women in sport to speaking out against the transportation of Jewish people to Nazi death camps in World War Two.
The 44-year-old has since deleted the posts.
in April, Ms Deves said she is not transphobic and that her comments relate to “the rights of women and girls to have a dedicated female sports category for fair competition” and legislation “not doing its job” to create a level playing field.
Liberal candidate for Warringah Katherine Deves (centre) was flanked by two security guards as she left the campaign rally. Source: AAP / MICK TSIKAS/AAPIMAGE
“I have never had an issue with sexual orientation, or gender diversity, or people expressing themselves the way that they want to. I have family members and friends and supporters who are gay and lesbian or identify as trans,” she told SBS World News presenter Janice Petersen.
“What I take issue with is trans activism. It is an encroachment on women’s rights. And there is a collision of rights here. And we as a society need to be able to acknowledge that we need to balance what women want, and what people with trans identities want. And we need to be able to debate that in a reasonable and measured way.”
When asked by reporters earlier on Sunday if his support of Ms Deves contradicted his self-professed mission to bring down suicide rates, Mr Morrison said he didn’t support her remarks.
Questioned on the issue further, Mr Morrison said his support for a ban on transgender women being allowed to compete in women’s sport and improving the mental health of young people are “two separate issues”.
“Fairness in sport, women and girls in sport is an important issue, where I think there are common-sense solutions. That’s what we are focused on with that,” he said.
“On the other matter, in terms of what Katherine Deves has said in the past, she has withdrawn those and she said they were insensitive and that was my view as well.”
Around three in four transgendered young people in Australia have experienced anxiety or depression, according to the 2017 Trans Pathways study conducted by the Telethon Kids Institute.
Forty-eight per cent of young trans people have attempted suicide, while four out of five engaged in self-harm.
The Coalition announced on Sunday it would invest another $5.5 million in funding for youth mental health organisation, batyr, should it win the election.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison has promised to invest another $5.5 million in funding for youth mental health organisations. Source: AAP / MICK TSIKAS/AAPIMAGE
Some $3.8 million will be delivered through the 2022-23 budget to expand batyr’s OurHerd app, which provides young people with a digital space to share positive mental health stories.
It comes on top of $2.8 million invested in the 2019-20 budget to develop the app.
In addition, batyr will receive $1.7 million for an evidence-based, peer-to-peer mental health and suicide prevention program focused on high school and tertiary education students, Thrive On.
Clashes over housing policy
An impending interest rate rise and the Opposition’s plan to get thousands of people into homes has intensified the spotlight on property affordability.
Federal Labor says the cost of buying a home will be slashed by up to 40 per cent for about 10,000 low- to middle-income earners a year if it wins government.
Under Labor’s plan, Australians will be able to buy back an additional stake in the home, owned by the federal government, in five per cent increments or pay the government back when they sell. Source: AAP / Diego Fedele
When asked by reporters on Sunday if Labor’s Help to Buy scheme would drive up property prices like it has been suggested the Coalition’s housing policies have, Scott Morrison said it is better that Australians own their own homes.
“They (a Labor government) will have equity in your home and as your equity goes up, they are going to keep it,” he told reporters in Sydney.
“I don’t have a plan to make money off people buying their own home – quite the opposite.”
Labor’s policy, which was formally announced on Sunday at its campaign launch in Perth, will provide an equity contribution of up to 40 per cent of the purchase price of a new home, and up to 30 per cent for an existing dwelling, with buyers needing a minimum deposit of two per cent.
“For too long, Australians who have worked hard have been locked out of the housing market by flat wages and rising prices, unable to even get a foot in the door let alone their own roof over their heads,” Labor leader Anthony Albanese told the party faithful, gathered at Perth Stadium.
“I want to build a better future, and I want to help more Australians own a stake in it.”
Ahead of the most recent federal budget, the government announced up to 50,000 places would be available each year under its scheme allowing first home buyers to enter the market with a much smaller deposit.
“We have been successful in ensuring we have got 300,000 Australians into owning their own home, and this is a great achievement,” Mr Morrison said.
“Now, not everybody can achieve it, but it’s certainly something that I know Australians are aspiring to achieve.”
One of the policies that Opposition leader Anthony Albanese announced at the Labor campaign launch in Perth was a housing affordability plan in which the government owns part of someone’s home. Source: AAP / LUKAS COCH/AAPIMAGE
About 160,000 people bought their first home in Australia last year, up from a five-year average of around 100,000, he said.
Under Labor’s plan, Australians will be able to buy back an additional stake in the home, owned by the federal government, in five per cent increments or pay the government back when they sell.
The scheme is not exclusive to first home buyers but participants must be Australian citizens and live in the home for two years.
It’s expected to cost taxpayers around $329 million over four years, but the Greens say the investment “won’t even touch the sides”.
Leader Adam Bandt said housing affordability is one area the party would push an Albanese government should Labor win the election.
“What we want to do is work with the next government, which will hopefully not be a Liberal government … but they’re going to need to be pushed,” Mr Bandt told the ABC’s Insiders program on Sunday.
“Housing affordability is a massive issue in this country and they come out with a policy that maybe might help 10,000 people, and might in fact push up prices.”
The Greens want to build a million homes over the next two decades, including a mix of public and community housing and shared ownership and affordable rental schemes.
The debate comes ahead of a meeting of the Reserve Bank on Tuesday to discuss the prospect of a mid-campaign interest rate rise.
Anthony Albanese outlines his vision for a ‘better future’
At Labor’s official campaign launch in Perth, Anthony Albanese said voters should take into account both his party’s record of achievement and plans for the future when they head to the ballot box on 21 May.
“My fellow Australians, in just 20 days’ time, you can vote for a better future, you can choose cheaper childcare, stronger Medicare, and fixing the crisis in aged care,” Mr Albanese said.
“Or, you can have more of the same.”
He listed significant reforms introduced by previous federal Labor governments including Medicare, universal superannuation, the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS), anti-discrimination acts, and the native title act as evidence Australians are better off under his party’s leadership.
Former Australian prime ministers Kevin Rudd (centre) and Paul Keating (second right) react during the Labor Party campaign launch at Perth Stadium on Day 21 of the 2022 federal election campaign, 1 May 2022. Source: AAP / LUKAS COCH/AAPIMAGE
“This government has had a decade in office and in another three years the problems we need to fix will be even bigger,” Mr Albanese said.
“We can do better.”
Among the policy announcements made at the launch included a promise to cut the cost of medicines listed on the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS) by $12.50 – $2.50 more than the Coalition’s pledge.
It would mean PBS co-payments will be capped at $30 from a previous high of $42.50.
Gender pay equity would also become an objective in the Fair Work Act under a Labor government, Mr Albanese said.
That move was welcomed by the Australian Council of Trade Unions, with President Michele O’Neil calling the current system “a broken system in desperate need of reform”.
“Women are bearing the brunt of the cost of living crisis,” she said.
“The changes announced today will create a system which seeks to fix the problem, rather than preserve the status quo.”
Mr Albanese said Labor would also “bring the principles of universal, affordable and quality service to childcare and to aged care.”
“For too long, our youngest Australians and our oldest Australians, and their families, have lived with broken systems – the costs of childcare are simply unaffordable, the neglect in aged care is just unconscionable,” he said.
“I will make it the Labor government’s mission to do better than this and to fix this.”
Opposition leader Anthony Albanese (right) and Labor’s foreign affairs spokeswoman Penny Wong acknowledge the crowd at the Labor Party campaign launch at Perth Stadium. Source: AAP / LUKAS COCH/AAPIMAGE
Scott Morrison pledges big tech safety changes
Big tech will be required to build enhanced safety controls into their devices that are easy for parents to use and hard for children to bypass, if the Coalition is returned to government.
Technology companies would need to create the safeguards for smartphones and tablets as part of a new eSafety package.
The eSafety Commissioner would work with Apple, Samsung and others to design device settings and a binding code under the Online Safety Act.
If the industry does not create these controls within 12 months of the government being elected, it would move to force companies to comply with regulations.
In December, Mr Morrison established a parliamentary inquiry into the effects of social media, saying at the time that parents had a right to be worried about whether big tech was doing enough to keep kids safe.
“This is one of my great missions, can I tell you, of mental health in this country and the impact that social media is having on impacting negatively in our society, our community, our families,” he said on Sunday.
“If we want to be strong as a country … then we need to be dealing with this stuff and we need to be ensuring that the online world, the digital world, is a safe place for Australians.”
The government’s e-safety package also includes $23 million to raise awareness of eSafety support in schools and provide teacher training and resources.
Some $10 million will also go to the eSafety Commissioner to make it easier for people to report online harms, by expanding coordination with other regulatory and law enforcement agencies.
eSafety Commissioner Julie Inman Grant during Senate Estimates at Parliament House in Canberra, Tuesday, 15 February 2022. Source: AAP / MICK TSIKAS/AAPIMAGE
Another $2 million has been earmarked for an online safety grants program to support women and girls in culturally and linguistically diverse communities.
The government is also renewing its commitments to push social media companies to be more accountable by legislating anti-trolling and online privacy laws, strengthening classifications, introducing stronger regulations to combat fake news and establishing the Online Safety Youth Advisory Council.
“I’m very proud of this plan,” Mr Morrison said.
“It’s there to protect women, it’s there to protect girls, it’s there to protect young people, it’s there to protect people who are the subject of trolling and abuse, it’s there to keep Australians safe, and it’s there to keep our online spaces and to make them safe in the future.”
Additional reporting from AAP