Deves, who is running for the Warringah seat currently held by Independent Zali Steggall, recently returned to the limelight after offering an apology to the transgender community.
Several online statements by Deves were revealed through various media outlets early in the election, including claims that half of all “men” with “trans identities” were sex offenders and that trans children had been “surgically mutilated.”
Gender confirmation surgery is not available for children in Australia.
Deves initially apologized for her language while saying she was an advocate for “women and girls”, but recently said her comments about “mutilation” were medically correct.
Scott Morrison, who admitted that Deves’ language was unacceptable, has continued to support the candidate.
That support was a nail driven in by several pointed questions at a press conference today, where Morrison appeared alongside liberal moderate Bridget Archer.
Archer, who previously spoke to help overturn the government’s signature religious discrimination laws over a lack of protections for LGBTQ+ students, teamed up with the Prime Minister to tout the coalition’s commitment to mental health, including a national agreement between the Commonwealth and every state and territory government in the country.
The Tasmanian MP was asked if she was concerned about the mental health of the Australian trans community, given the government’s support for Deves.
“My concern is for the mental health of all Australians,” Archer said.
“We know, and I’ve said before, that members of the LGBTIQ community are about 15 times more likely to have mental health problems and a risk of suicide.”
She said the problems in the banquet hall would be worked out further.
“We can all do better,” she said.
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But the questioning wasn’t done, with Archer later directly asked if Morrison’s vocal advocacy for mental health, in addition to his repeated support for Deves, made him a “hypocrite.”
“Look, I think there’s a place for the conversations we’re having and I don’t think we should necessarily try to censor people,” Archer said.
“But what I would say, as I’ve said before, is – and I think the Prime Minister understands this too – is that when we talk about people, whoever they are, we should always try to do that. manner that is respectful and not harmful to people’s mental health.”
“The kind of misinformation and abuse that is particularly aimed at trans women during this campaign contributes to the extreme levels of marginalization transgender people experience, resulting in some of the worst mental health outcomes in the Australian community,” Trans Equality Advocate said Jackie Turner.
“Once again, it is time for every political party and candidate to follow the example of the community, treat LGBTIQ+ people with the dignity and respect we deserve, and continue to address the concerns of all voters in Australia – cost of living, climate change, the economy, health and aged care.”
If you need help during a crisis, call Lifeline on 13 11 14. For more information about depression, contact Beyondblue on 1300 224 636 or talk to your GP, local health professional or someone you trust.