Embattled Warringah candidate Katherine Deves suggested trickle down economics is a “fallacy” and declared Australia is a “socialist” country in a series of deleted tweets at odds with Liberal Party economic ideology.
Ms Deves, who faces calls to resign for anti-trans slurs and remarks about the Holocaust she posted in now deleted tweets, declared in 2021 she felt “politically homeless”, and repeatedly criticised senior Coalition ministers – including Prime Minister Scott Morrison.
The latest deleted tweets to emerge – part of an archive of 6000 posts obtained by TND and other media outlets this week – sheds light on Ms Deves’ political views, many of which were at odds with her party.
In 2021, Ms Deves described Australia as a “socialist country”, saying that was why living standards are so high here. That contrasted with the US, she argued, calling it a “declining empire”.
“Why is America a declining empire? Why is it declining on all metrics of quality of life? Who does capitalism REALLY benefit? Could it be that unbridled, rampant capitalism only benefits … the capitalists, and “trickle-down economics” is nothing but a fallacy?” Ms Deves tweeted in 2021.
Ms Deves said the US decline began in the late 1970s – when Ronald Reagan was president – when “the social democratic model” was scrapped to favour “free market capitalism”.
“The Golden Era ended along with investment in social institutions. This has been in play for a generation,” she said.
Ms Deves’ views in 2021 contrast with those of Treasurer Josh Frydenberg, who has named Mr Reagan as a key influence on his economic views.
Mr Frydenberg said in 2020 that Australia should double down on trickle-down economics, a view that’s in line with traditional Liberal Party policy.
The last Liberal MP for the Sydney seat of Warringah, former PM Tony Abbott, also idolised Mr Reagan, comparing himself to the president in 2014.
Ms Deves has faced calls from within her own party to resign her candidacy in recent weeks after hundreds of deleted tweets surfaced where she boasted about being a trans-exclusionary radical feminist (TERF).
Her tweets include hundreds of anti-trans slurs that have angered NSW Treasurer Matt Kean and federal backbencher Trent Zimmerman.
A comparison she made between a court case involving a transgender child in Canada and the “grudge trials of the Third Reich” also drew wide ranging criticism from Jewish groups, and even Mr Frydenberg himself.
Asked this week whether Ms Deves should resign, Mr Frydenberg said her comments were “unacceptable” but defended her candidacy.
Ms Deves has apologised for “language” used in the trove of deleted tweets, but doubled down on her discriminatory views towards trans people.
In an interview with 2GB on Friday morning, she claimed to be standing up for the “rights” of women.
“I did that [the tweets] as a private person, not envisaging that I would eventually put my hand up to run for politics and to potentially be the member for Warringah,” she said.
“We need to move on from that and I’ve apologised and I think we just need to conduct these debates going forward in a respectful and dignified way.”
Ms Deves has also publicly criticised or attacked Coalition ministers on Twitter over the past two years.
They include Defence Minister Peter Dutton, who she compared to Voldemort in a now-deleted tweet from 2021, and Mr Morrison, who she tagged when suggesting the government was failing to provide enough funding for domestic violence services.
Ms Deves said in 2021 that the federal government “doesn’t even know what a woman is” amid criticism of its handling of sex abuse allegations.
She has also taken aim at former chief scientist Alan Finkel and even US President Joe Biden, who she said was “showing clear signs of dementia” in another now-deleted tweet from 2021.
Ms Deves predicted Donald Trump would run for president in 2024 and win.
“Trump supports women’s sports for women, while he did not take the opportunity to shore up protections whilst he was in office, if he is going to wind back the encroachment of woke then I suspect he will have support from many women, parents and allies who may otherwise be ‘left’,” Ms Deeves tweeted in January.
Ms Deves’ views, many expressed less than a year ago on public forums, are awkward for Mr Morrison, who hand-picked her for the traditionally conservative seat.
The Prime Minister has vigorously defended Ms Deves, saying criticism of her deleted tweets are a “pile on” and an attempt to “cancel her”.
But other liberal MPs disagree.
Mr Kean has called for her to resign, saying she is “not fit for office”, while former Liberal PM Malcolm Turnbull said she should be disendorsed.
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