A Liberal Party candidate has apologised after Daily Mail Australia revealed she had invoked the Nazi occupation of France when describing her experiences facing down transgender and gender identity activists.
Katherine Deves, who is contesting the independent-held marginal seat of Warringah in northern Sydney, shared a bizarre World War II analogy on a podcast hosted by Irish comedian Graham Linehan in February last year.
Ms Deves compared her campaign against transgender women participating in female sports with the French Resistance and said she wouldn’t be the type of person to ‘stand by’ as trains went past – an apparent reference to Jews being carried to concentration camps during the Holocaust.
The Father Ted and IT Crowd star asked Ms Deves if she fears a backlash from woke social media mobs after co-founding Save Women’s Sport – a group which aims to ban trans athletes who went through male puberty from competing in female sports divisions.
On Thursday, Ms Deves apologised for the Nazi comparison, saying ‘In my dedication to fighting for the rights of women and girls, my language has on occasion been unacceptable.
‘It has hurt people, and detracted from my arguments. I apologise for such language and the hurt that I have caused. I commit to continuing the fight for the safety of girls and women in a respectful way,’ she said.
The resurfaced clip came just 24 hours after the under fire lawyer apologised for describing transgender children as ‘surgically mutilated and sterilised’ in deleted tweets.
In the podcast, she told Linehan: ‘I’ve got three small children. I have skin in the game on their behalf and people just weren’t willing to speak up and I just felt compelled to do so.
‘I’ve always loved 20th century history. I think many people say “I’d never be one of the villagers that stayed quiet when the trains went past. I would have been part of the French resistance”.
‘But when all of this was happening and no one was speaking out I thought this is it.
‘This is the moment in my life where I am going to have to stand up and say something against the status quo and against the establishment, and say I don’t think this is right and it might come at a cost to me but I have to say it.’
Daily Mail Australia has contacted Ms Deves and Liberal party headquarters for comment.
Katherine Deves (pictured) who is contesting the independent-held seat of Warringah in northern Sydney
WHAT WERE HOLOCAUST TRAINS?
Holocaust trains were set up by Hitler’s Nazis during the second world war to transport Jewish civilians to concentration, forced labour, and extermination camps.
The rail network was a major part of Hitler’s ‘Final Solution’ – a plan to carryout genocide on the Jewish population – as well as other minorities.
The Holocaust rail network stretched across Germany and into Nazi-occupied territories like France and Poland, as well as allied nations such as Hungary and Italy.
Pictured: Victims of the Auschwitz concentration camp stand on the train platform in Birkenau Station, awaiting selection for either the gas chambers or forced labor
After a hugely successful small screen career, Linehan became a victim of ‘cancel culture’ and has been widely criticised for various social media posts and comments deemed ‘anti-trans’.
The multi-BAFTA-winning writer recently claimed extremist trans activists had cost him his career, friendships and marriage.
He warned Ms Deves that if you voice an opinion on the subject, your career will be ‘ruined’.
‘They find out your details and they write to your bosses. Does that not concern you?’
Ms Deves, who was hand-picked by Scott Morrison to run in the seat, said: ‘I am transparent with what I do. It is a risk that I’ve weighed up.’
‘We have lawful protection in areas like sport where we are allowed to exclude on the basis of sex and everything that I say, we can back up.
‘I don’t feel that I’m saying anything hateful.’
Earlier this year, Linehan was offered £200,000 to ‘walk away’ from Father Ted The Musical by Hat Trick Productions, which produced the comedy series. (Above, the cast of the Father Ted TV show)
The Prime Minister has made transgender athletes in sport an election issue by seeming to back Ms Deves and Liberal Senator Claire Chandler who has drafted a new bill to stop sports clubs being sued for excluding trans women.
Ms Deves is running for the Liberals in Tony Abbott’s former seat which is held by independent Zali Stegall on a healthy seven per cent margin.
On Tuesday Mr Morrison threw his weight behind Ms Deves despite her controversial views on transgender people, before softening his tone days later.
‘Katherine Deves over there in Warringah, she’s standing up for something really important, and that is to ensure that when it comes to girls playing sport and women playing sport, that they’re playing against people of the same sex,’ he said.
‘And that’s, I know, it’s a sensitive issue.
‘Katherine is an outstanding individual. And she’s standing up for things that she believes in, and I share her views on those topics. This is just about common sense and what’s right. And I think Katherine’s right on the money there.’
Scott Morrison (pictured) has made transgender athletes in sport an election issue by backing Ms Deves and Liberal Senator Claire Chandler who has drafted a new bill to stop sports clubs being sued for excluding trans women
But Mr Morrison changed his tune on the issue on Wednesday after Deves publicly apologised for her controversial tweets about trans people.
The Prime Minister added that the government has no plans to adopt her bill, despite what seemed like a ringing endorsement 48 hours earlier.
‘It is a private member’s bill. The government does not have any plans for that to be a government bill,’ he explained.
‘I have told you very clearly what my views on that bill are, so I have been upfront.’
Ms Deves also made headlines on Thursday after describing Wear it Purple Day as a ‘grooming tactic’ promoting ‘extreme body modification’.
Wear it Purple Day, on August 26, is also known as LGBTIQA+ awareness day.
She has since apologised for the comments that were made on a now-deleted website months earlier.