Identity Crisis Threatens NSW Liberal’s Hold on Power
By Alexandra Marshall
Is the world about to fall apart for Liberal Premier Dominic Perrottet and his minority Liberal government?
Liberal Premier Dominic Perrottet holds power in New South Wales with the support for Supply of two MPs, the Member for Sydney Alex Greenwich – who is also an LGBTQI activist – and the Member for Lake Macquarie.
Up until now, both MPs have maintained their support for the Liberal government, but the ideological war taking place in the federal election in the New South Wales seat of Warringah has threatened to take down the New South Wales government.
Warringah is held by climate warrior MP Zali Steggall, who ousted former Primer Minister Tony Abbott after help from an expensive GetUp! Campaign. Earlier this week, Steggall appeared on Sky News Australia, referring to the protection of women and girls in sport as a ‘dead cat issue’.
Backlash against Steggall appears to have invigorated the federal Liberal campaign, with Scott Morrison walking back his previous walk-back, returning party support to outspoken candidate Katherine Deves. Other prominent Liberals, including the former Prime Minister, also backed in the co-founder Save Women’s Sport Australasia.
Perhaps sensing that the conservative base were turning the tide, self-declared moderate Liberals came forward to attack their own party members, demanding that Katherine Deves be disendorsed by the Prime Minister (even though she was his captain’s pick). The most vocal of these voices is the New South Wales Treasurer Matt Kean, who engaged in public and vicious attacks on Deves via Twitter.
Despite all the #MeToo campaigning of the previous years, the electorate has witnessed men from the Liberals, Labor, and so-called Independents pile-on Deves – who has been receiving death threats and hateful remarks from anonymous online trolls.
By Wednesday, it appeared that the moderate faction had lost the argument, with more female athletes going public with their objection to biological men competing against the in gender-segregated sport.
While the federal campaign looks safe after having won the larger argument against Steggall, the moderates and Independents look set to exact their revenge on the government of New South Wales with both Greg Piper and Alex Greenwich repeatedly threatening to withdraw their support.
“I’ve maintained a very cooperative working relationship with the Perrottet minority government, but it would be impossible for that to continue if trans youth continue to be picked on by the Premier. Fair-minded people don’t want vulnerable kids bullied by political leaders.”
The Liberal Party – including the moderates – have 45 of the required 47 seats.
Premier Dominic Perrottet is on the record supporting the rights of woman and girls to solely compete against their own gender – a position that the majority of the electorate agree on, if regular polling is to be believed. Perrottet also took issue with LGBT activists shutting down women and intimidating to the point that they felt unsafe complaining about the situation.
On Friday morning, Greenwich spoke to Patricia Karvelas on breakfast radio.
“Well, I have always been transparent with the government and that is that any attacks on the LGBTQI community and I can no longer have a cooperative relationship with them. What I have been dealing with in the past two days is trans kids asking their parents if they can compete in sport, or does the Premier not want them to.”
Perrottet did not say that trans kids should not compete in sport, only that all children should compete in the sport of their biological gender to ensure the fairness and safety of all.
Greenwich would not be drawn into the issue of how women and girls felt, instead saying that there were calls of ‘escalated trauma’ within the trans community.
“I want them [politicians] to leave trans people alone.”
Women and girls, on the other hand, have been asking that men leave them alone in their gender-protected spaces and sports.
“But I would just remind people of the benefit of sport to everybody,” added Greenwich.
While the likes of Greenwich, Piper, and Kean may not be able to win the argument on merit or convince the women and girls of New South Wales – what they can do is throw the New South Wales government into chaos – or at least threaten to unless the Prime Minister sacrifices women’s rights campaigner Katherine Deves.