Vic Liberals leader to expel MP over anti-trans rally

Neo-Nazi protesters gave the Nazi salute at an anti-trans rights rally at the weekend.

Neo-Nazi protesters gave the Nazi salute at an anti-trans rights rally at the weekend. Photo: AAP

Victorian Liberal leader John Pesutto will move to expel outspoken MP Moira Deeming from the parliamentary party over her role in an anti-trans rally.

Ms Deeming spoke at British anti-trans activist Kellie-Jay Keen-Minshull’s “Let Women Speak” event outside the Victorian parliament on Saturday.

The rally was attended by members of the National Socialist Network who repeatedly performed the Nazi salute and held signs calling transgender people offensive names, sparking violent clashes with hundreds of counter-protesters.

Police Association of Victoria secretary Wayne Gatt said officers prevented a brawl between the groups but were powerless to stop the actions of the neo-Nazis.

Mr Pesutto said on Sunday the scenes of black-clad white supremacists marching along Spring Street were an “abomination” and “affront” to values all Victorians should hold dear.

He said he met Ms Deeming on Sunday afternoon and discussed her involvement in organising, promoting and participating in the rally.

Mr Pesutto said Ms Deeming’s position was “untenable” and he would move a motion at the next party room meeting to expel her as a member of the parliamentary Liberal Party.

“This is not an issue about free speech but a member of the parliamentary party associating with people whose views are abhorrent to my values, the values of the Liberal Party and the wider community,” Mr Pesutto said in a statement.

“Regardless of religious faith, race, sexual preference and identity, Victorians everywhere should know that the Liberal Party is inclusive and can be a voice for them.”

Ms Deeming was elected to the Victorian parliament last year as a member for Western Metropolitan region, replacing controversial MP Bernie Finn.

In a post on social media, Ms Deeming, a former teacher and City of Melton councillor, said she was disappointed with Victoria Police for letting masked men into the rally buffer zone.

“Police managed to stop hordes of (trans rights activists), but somehow could only walk masked men past us (as) they did a horrible Nazi salute,” she said on Twitter.

Deputy Premier Jacinta Allan said the state government, which banned the public display of the Nazi swastika last year, was looking at what further action it could take to address Saturday’s “disgraceful” scenes.

“The government has absolutely no tolerance for this sort of behaviour and we’ll continue to work very, very hard to address what sits behind those sorts of disgraceful actions,” she said on Sunday.

Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews also released a statement on Sunday, saying anti-transgender activists had “gathered to spread hate” in the city.

“On the steps of our parliament, some of them performed a Nazi salute. They were there to say the trans community don’t deserve rights, safety or dignity,” he said on Twitter.

“That’s what Nazis do. Their evil ideology is to scapegoat minorities – and it’s got no place here. And those who stand with them don’t, either.”

Police said there were about 300 protestors at Saturday’s rally, with around 15 “possibly belonging to right wing groups”.

-with AAP

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