Deves considering a second run for Liberals in Warringah

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Former Liberal Party candidate Katherine Deves has confirmed she is considering a second tilt at the once blue-ribbon seat of Warringah on Sydney’s northern beaches, currently held by independent MP Zali Steggall.

Deves rose to prominence during the 2022 federal election campaign for her outspoken views on trans women participating in women’s sport.

Independent Zali Steggall (left) increased her two-candidate-preferred margin to 61 per cent to 39 per cent in 2022 against Katherine Deves.Credit: Louise Kennerley

In the lead-up to the election, she came under fire over comments, for which she later apologised, that included comparing her anti-trans activism to resistance against the Nazis, and claiming in a tweet that “half of all males with trans identities are sex offenders”.

Deves’ candidacy became a lightning rod for disaffection with the Coalition government – one of several that emerged during the campaign. Although she enjoyed the support of former prime minister Tony Abbott and other members of the conservative wing of the Liberal party, high-profile Liberal moderates including NSW opposition health spokesman Matt Kean called on her at the time to quit.

Despite the controversy, Deves – who insists she is not anti-trans but rather fighting for the rights of women and girls – confirmed to this masthead she was considering running for the Liberals again in Warringah. Preselection nominations for the seat open next year.

“I am being encouraged, but I have to say that I am very focused on the several important legal cases I am running at the moment,” said Deves, who was admitted as a Supreme Court solicitor in 2021.

Steggall won Warringah from Abbott at the 2019 election in a surprise result that saw the independent secure a 57.2 per cent to 42.8 per cent two-candidatepreferred vote.

She increased her two-candidate-preferred margin to 61 per cent to 39 per cent in 2022 against Deves, with the Liberal primary vote falling from 39 per cent to just 33.3 per cent.

A Liberal Party source, who asked not to be named to speak freely, pointed out the party had seen big swings back towards it in booths inside the seat of Warringah at the 2023 state election and questioned the wisdom of Deves standing again.

“There is no way that she should run,” the source said.

The primary legal case Deves is working on involves female-only social media platform Giggle for Girls. Transgender woman Roxanne Tickle filed a Federal Court lawsuit in December 2022 claiming she had been unlawfully barred from using the site, after initially being granted access, after the firm said she was a man.

Tickle is seeking damages, a written apology and complete access to the platform. In June, Federal Court Justice Robert Bromwich allowed an extension of time for the case to continue and ordered Giggle to pay Tickle’s legal costs for an earlier hearing.

With AAP

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