Warringah candidate Katherine Deves says she received death threats over offensive social media posts

A controversial Liberal candidate has broken her silence over offensive social media posts referencing the transgender community and Nazism, revealing she has received death threats over her comments.

Katherine Deves was picked up by the Prime Minister Scott Morrison to contest the once blue-ribbon seat of Warringah, after a bitter pre-selection battle in New South Wales.

She has since been forced to apologise twice for now-deleted Twitter posts in which she likened her push to stop transgender people from competing in women’s sports to standing up to the Nazis, described transgender children as “surgically mutilated and sterilised,” and declared surrogacy was a “human rights violation”.

Ms Deves has avoided the media for weeks, but in a four-minute interview with SBS, broadcast on Sunday evening, she said she feared for her safety.

“I have received death threats, I have had to have the police and the AFP involved,” she told SBS.

When asked to reflect on the controversy caused by her comments Ms Deves said she had been “chastened” by the reaction to them.

Warringah candidate Katherine Deves says she received death threats over offensive social media posts
Ms Deves appeared in a 4-minute-long interview on SBS News, declaring she would henceforth be conducting herself in a “dignified and respectful” manner.(SBS News)

“I recognise that trying to prosecute arguments about complex, nuanced and difficult subjects…. it should not take place on a platform that propagates offense and division and hurt,” she said.

“Going forward, I will be conducting myself in a dignified and respectful fashion.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison has offered unswerving support of Ms Deves, whose comments have irked moderate Liberals, arguing she should not be “silenced” for expressing her views.

“The issue is fundamentally about women and girls in sport,” he said.

“Katherine Deves has made her comments about comments she’s made in the past.

“And she knows that a sensitive approach is required in the future.”

Speaking at the same media conference, the Coalition’s Senate candidate for Northern Territory Jacinta Price offered a strong defence of Ms Deves.

“Being-pro women is not anti-trans as far as I’m concerned,” she said.

“I’ve been a captain of several AFL football teams here in Central Australia.

“I mean the girls here put on a hard-hit playing AFL, but if you have to be up against a bloke, that’s potentially life threatening”.

Two women smiling at the camera, with a beach and ocean behind them,
Coalition candidate for the NT, Jacinta Price, has backed Ms Deves’s position.(Supplied: Facebook)

Ms Price also equated criticism of Ms Deves with the experience of ethnic minorities.

“Let’s be straight here, she’s from the Northern Beaches in Sydney, she’s a white Australian woman, but if we don’t stand up for someone like her and her position, then the voices of other women — marginalised Indigenous women, voices of ethnic women who deal with their own cultural issues when it comes to patriarchal cultures — they don’t get to have a voice either.”

Before nominations closed on Thursday, NSW Liberal Treasurer — and leading moderate — Matt Kean called for Ms Deves to be disendorsed, suggesting her comments could undermine the party’s chances in the state’s progressive seats.

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