Victorian Liberal leader John Pesutto will move to expel outspoken MP Moira Deeming from the parliamentary party over her role in an anti-trans rally over the weekend.
Ms Deeming spoke at British anti-trans activist Kellie-Jay Keen-Minshull’s “Let Women Speak” event outside Victorian parliament on Saturday.
The rally was attended by members of the National Socialist Movement who repeatedly performed the Nazi salute and held signs calling transgender people offensive names, sparking violent clashes with hundreds of counter-protesters.
Police Association of Victoria secretary Wayne Gatt said officers prevented a brawl between the groups but were powerless to stop the actions of the neo-Nazis.
Mr Pesutto said on Sunday the scenes of black-clad white supremacists marching along Spring Street were an “abomination” and “affront” to values all Victorians should hold dear.
He said he met Ms Deeming on Sunday afternoon and discussed her involvement in organising, promoting and participating in the rally. Mr Pesutto said Ms Deeming’s position was “untenable” and he would move a motion at the next party room meeting to expel her as a member of the parliamentary Liberal Party.
“This is not an issue about free speech but a member of the parliamentary party associating with people whose views are abhorrent to my values, the values of the Liberal Party and the wider community,” Mr Pesutto said in a statement.
“Regardless of religious faith, race, sexual preference and identity, Victorians everywhere should know that the Liberal Party is inclusive and can be a voice for them.”
Speaking to ABC on Monday morning, federal Minister for Women Katy Gallagher said was shocked by the scenes over the weekend and didn’t agree with the organisers of the rally who claim to be speaking on behalf of women while pushing anti-trans views.
“Hard to believe these scenes were coming form Australia,” she said. “It’s very disappointing we’ve got to the situation where this is happening in our streets, in front of our parliament.”
Who is Moira Deeming?
Ms Deeming was elected to the Victorian parliament last year as a member for Western Metropolitan region, replacing controversial MP Bernie Finn.
In a post on social media, Ms Deeming, a former teacher and City of Melton councillor, said she was disappointed with Victoria Police for letting masked men into the rally buffer zone.
“Police managed to stop hordes of (trans rights activists), but somehow could only walk masked men past us (as) they did a horrible Nazi salute,” she said on Twitter.
Deputy Premier Jacinta Allan said the state government, which banned the public display of the Nazi swastika last year, was looking at what further action it could take to address Saturday’s “disgraceful” scenes.
“The government has absolutely no tolerance for this sort of behaviour and we’ll continue to work very, very hard to address what sits behind those sorts of disgraceful actions,” she said on Sunday.
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