Controversial Victorian MP Moira Deeming has avoided being kicked out of the Liberal Party for now after making a strong speech in which she revealed she had been raped and faced threats.
Ms Deeming, who represents the Western Metropolitan Region, was banned from the nightclub for nine months after appearing at a Let Women Speak rally also attended by neo-Nazis last weekend. She said that they had not been invited.
Victorian Liberal leader John Pesutto, who wanted her thrown out of the party, said on Monday night that Ms Deeming could still be thrown out of the party.
‘I can categorically say that if the party room, when it reconsiders this matter… if it sees evidence that there is a difference between what we have been assured in written and oral submissions… and what is posted on social media, then , there will be consequences,’ he told the 7:30 ABC program.
That followed the revelation he later tweeted to a rally organizer: “Don’t worry, I never convicted you, KD or KJ.”
Liberal MP Cat Deeming (centre) has been suspended for nine months after appearing at an anti-trans rights rally that was intercepted by neo-Nazis but was not expelled from the party.
Ms Deeming at event with outspoken anti-trans activist Kellie-Jay Keen
In a speech at the nightclub, she revealed that she had been raped as a child and sexually assaulted, which is what prompted her actions, according to the speech provided to Sky News presenter Peta Credlin.
“I see that many of you are confused and upset with me for persisting in talking about women’s rights, intersex rights, gay rights, parental rights, and safeguards for women and children,” said Ms. Deeming in the party room.
I assure you, the reasons are based entirely and utterly on love and compassion, not on any kind of bigotry, and not even on religion or conservative politics.
‘When I talk about these issues, I speak from my personal experience. My life has been repeatedly marred by rape, at my hands, since I was four years old.
‘I have been assaulted in public establishments, I was sexually harassed and assaulted by a teacher who later went to jail for having sex with minors.
“I’m driven by a desire to make sure other children and women don’t suffer like I did.”
She said her uncle, who helped raise her, was Jewish and a Holocaust survivor, calling allegations that she had Nazi ties false and “deeply and personally offensive and hurtful.”
“These accusations against me of Nazism and hatred of the trans community are 100% false, but people will believe them if you support this motion to expel me.”
UK anti-trans activist Kellie-Jay Keen had organized the event, while Ms Deeming was accused of playing a role in “organising, promoting and assisting”.
The event was stormed by protesters giving the Heil Hitler salute and clashing with transgender rights activists who had turned up to demonstrate.
Opposition members met in a two-hour ‘marathon’ session on Monday morning to vote on the expulsion motion led by .
Pesutto said Deeming made some “significant concessions” around 6:30 a.m. and “condemned” material in a dossier that helped change his fate.
But he also added that the behavior deserved “serious consequences.”
“He certainly made it clear in the ballroom today that he has a lot to learn about these things,” Pesutto said.
‘That is part of the process that we have set in motion. He has condemned the material, which was in the file that we wanted him to condemn, and will accept a nine-month suspension and loss of the whip position.
He knows he has a way back, but he also has to earn it. So, being a reasonable and sensible person who works with colleagues, I had the unanimous support in the ballroom to do it. And I think that’s sensible.
A Victorian Liberals source told NCA NewsWire that Ms Deeming’s hardline stances on social issues are preventing the embattled party from winning more centrist voters.
‘At the end of the day, a parliamentarian is a brand ambassador for a political party. Moira knows. Instead of concentrating on helping the team rebuild the Liberal Party for the modern age, she focuses on herself and everyone blowing up with her,” they said.
‘If you join the Liberal Party in implementing regressive policies like repealing abortion or reversing voluntary assisted dying, it’s not the party for you.
“John and the leadership team are headed in the right direction, they just need their backbenchers to help them.”
Pesutto went on to detail what Deeming’s next nine months in parliament would look like.
“She will not be a member of the parliamentary Liberal Party, but will continue to serve her constituents,” he said.
“She’s also going to be working on the chamber, working with people in her area and as a member of parliament, so she’ll continue to do all of that.”
Deputy Leader of the Opposition David Southwick, who is Jewish, said the Nazi rally caused a difficult few weeks for his constituents.
“There’s no question that what we’re seeing over the last week, for all communities, certainly my community, has been very painful, and that was certainly part of the discussion,” Southwick said.
“But I think to a large extent, you have to take people at face value… For me, a real part of anything is getting people to admit their mistakes and giving them a chance to correct them.” And I think that’s what it is.
‘We need to give Moira that opportunity to do well. Let’s see what nine months bring, but it’s a big decision. It is a decision we have not taken lightly. John has shown true leadership that he has listened and given his colleagues the benefit of the doubt.’
A similar vote last week to delay Ms Deeming’s removal motion lost 18-11.
An earlier vote to oust Ms Deeming was unsuccessful with 18 against and 11 in favour.
In an email purportedly sent to party colleagues on Sunday, Ms Deeming said she was “at fault to various degrees of association” but doubled down on her desire not to be expelled.
“I am respectfully writing to ask you to vote against the motion to expel me from the Liberal Party parliamentary team as I am innocent of these charges,” said Ms Deeming.
“I am a new parliamentarian and I deserve the opportunity to learn from this and because blame in various degrees of association is not a standard that any of us can avoid transgressing.”
“I want everyone to know that I have learned many painful lessons from this experience and am deeply sorry for the problems this has caused my state and federal colleagues and the broader party membership.
“And also that my offer to publicly endorse the current leadership team if the vote to oust me fails still stands.”
Earlier this month, Ms Deeming’s maiden speech took aim at inclusive measures, including trans women in women-only changing rooms, and called on the government to restore rights based on sex into law.
She also went on to say that “what most women would consider sexual harassment and indecent exposure is now legal in Victoria.”
“Surely there must be ways to ensure the safety and dignity of trans people that do not trample on the rights of women and girls,” she said.
Ms Deeming also took aim at efforts to expand Victoria’s laws on sex work, saying “newborn human babies and children up to 18 months of age are allowed on the premises” of brothels.
She was previously a teacher before leaving the profession over concerns that the curriculum had been ‘radically altered’.