Marise Payne, Minister for Women, has refused to say whether she thinks a Liberal candidate who has been forced to apologise for her controversial comments about transgender people should be removed from the campaign.
Katherine Deves was hand-picked by a panel including prime minister Scott Morrison to be the Liberal candidate for the seat of Warringah in Sydney, currently held by independent MP Zali Steggall.
She has had to apologize on several occasions after a number of deleted social media posts resurfaced, including ones where she advocated for transgender athletes from competing in women's sport to stand up against the Holocaust.
Senator Payne was asked several times if she thought Ms Deves should be dropped as a candidate, despite calls from the NSW Liberal treasurer that she's got to go On Sunday, despite the fact that he was very pleased to have played a role in appointing her as a candidate.
I don't agree with the remarks she made, but I've made that explicit.
Ms Deves has apologised for those remarks, withdrawn those remarks and that is the most important thing as she continues to be a candidate in Warringah.
She made an apology clear. Senator Payne was also asked if the controversy surrounding Ms Deves was a good example of why candidates should be pre-selected and vetted instead of through a process of captain's pick They are matters for the organisation, she said.
Senator Payne said the Liberal Party reserves its right to disendorse candidates.
Minister for Superannuation Jane Hume echoed Senator Payne and said Ms Deves was an excellent candidate for Warringah.
Katherine Deves has very strongly held opinions on an issue that is important to a lot of Australians, she said.
She said she was inappropriate and she has withdrawn those comments because of the language she used. He said that the issues surrounding Ms Deves was an example of the NSW Liberal Party tearing itself apart. This is a civil war that has been going on within the branch of the NSW Liberal Party for over a year.
Katherine Deves has been handpicked by the Prime Minister.
The prime minister said earlier this week he shared Ms Deves' values in endorsing her again.