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Our Open letter to the Hon. John Pesutto & Liberal MPs concerning Moira Deeming

Updated: Jun 30, 2023

23 March 2023

C&NC_LetterToMrJohnPesutto&AllStateLiberalMPs
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To the Liberal and Opposition leader Mr John Pesutto and all Liberal members of the Victorian parliament:


We are writing in support of Mrs Moira Deeming MLC, who is a member of the Presbyterian Church of Victoria[1] in good standing.


The Presbyterian Church of Victoria wishes to express its deep concern that Mr Pesutto has moved to expel Mrs Moira Deeming from the Victorian Liberal parliamentary party on the basis of (a) her attendance and participation in a Let Women Speak event on the steps of Parliament on Sunday, March 19, 2023, and (b) Mrs Deeming’s association with event organiser Ms Kellie-Jay Keen, who, according to Mr Pesutto and three of his colleagues, is “publicly associated with far right-wing extremist groups including neo-Nazi activists”.[2]

We dispute any suggestion that Mrs Deeming has ever consorted with or supported right-wing extremists. This would be entirely inconsistent with her known character and values. After the rally, the Australian Jewish Association issued a statement saying it was “disgraceful” that some politicians and elements of the media had falsely smeared the rally as being involved with neo-Nazis. “The Let Women Speak organisers had nothing to do with the event,” the association said.[3]


Our church shares the concerns expressed by Mrs Deeming and others at the Let Women Speak rally, that the safety of women and girls is being jeopardised through the erosion of women’s rights — in particular, the right of access to female-only toilets, change rooms, shelters and correctional facilities — through the aggressive promotion and adoption of transgender ideology in Victorian institutions and law.


It seems unwise to us in the extreme, and sets a deplorable precedent, that Mr Pesutto, and his three colleagues who co-signed his March 20 letter to Mrs Deeming, should be so intent on expelling a democratically-elected sitting member of parliament from the Victorian Liberal parliamentary party on the basis of (a) a tenuous connection between Mrs Deeming and Ms Keen’s supposed association with Nazism, (b) questionable sources of information, including discredited allegations derived from Wikipedia, and (c) ill-conceived reasoning, after Mrs Deeming’s participation in this event.


Mr Pesutto’s move shows alarming contempt for (a) the democratic processes through which Mrs Deeming won pre-selection to represent the Liberal Party and then her seat in the Legislative Council at the 2022 Victorian Elections, (b) Liberal Party members and the people of the Western Metropolitan Region who voted for her, (c) the concerns and rights of women and girls, which Mrs Deeming so eloquently and courageously defends, and (d) the freedom of speech which the Let Women Speak participants were exercising.


Mr Pesutto has justified his actions and claimed that he is a progressive Liberal and that he intends to represent all Victorians. He is wrong on both counts.


There is nothing remotely progressive about exposing women and girls to situations in which they are likely to feel embarrassed, unsafe, or exposed to risk of abuse. There is nothing remotely progressive about allowing the desires of the powerful — in this case, biological males who identify as women — to trump the rights of those who are vulnerable – in this case, women, and girls.


And in pandering to the radical left, by denying the reality and relevance of biology to the detriment of the safety of Victorian women and girls, he alienates and most certainly does not represent, the common-sense views of the majority of Victorian voters.


We urge Mr Pesutto and all Victorian state Liberal MPs to reconsider their intention to expel Mrs Deeming at the meeting of the party room on Monday, March 27, 2023. Failure to change course would represent a radical departure from the Liberal Party’s proclaimed values and completely alienate many thousands of Victorian voters already increasingly dissatisfied with the Party’s direction. Surely many Liberal voters will reconsider their choices next election should this expulsion occur.


Yours sincerely,


Rev. Christopher Duke, Convener, Church and Nation C


ommittee

Presbyterian Church of Victoria.

[1] The Presbyterian Church of Victoria (PCV) consists of 136 congregations, representing approximately 10,000 people under our care and ministry. In addition, we have five schools that educate 4,300 students, one aged care facility and one theological college. The PCV’s Church and Nation Committee exists to advise the PCV on contemporary trends and controversial issues in public life and to represent the church in communication with government, the media and other outside bodies on matters of social and ethical concern. [2] Letter, dated March 20, 2023, from Victorian Liberal leader Mr John Pesutto MP, Mr David Southwick MP, Ms Georgie Crozier MLC and Dr Matt Bach MLC, to Mrs Moira Deeming MLC, advising her of their intention to ex


pel her from the Victorian parliamentary party. [3] Sumeyya llanbey, “Liberals move to expel Moira Deeming over neo-Nazi rally links”, The Age (Melbourne), March 19, 2023. URL: https://www.theage.com.au/politics/victoria/liberals-move-to-expel-moira-deeming-over-neo-nazi-rally-links-20230319-p5ctgm.html


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