Dominic Perrottet tells colleagues he did not Katherine Deves text to Scott Morrison


“I agree with most fair-minded Australians that girls and women should be free to play sport against girls and women, particularly where there might otherwise be an unfair advantage – it’s a matter of fairness and physiology,” Perrottet said.

“The right thing to do is take the concerns of women and girls seriously, not shut them down, and if that means looking at appropriate protections for women-only sports, let’s have the conversation.”

The latest leaking of text messages follows a damaging internal war within the Liberal Party over preselections that ultimately was taken to the High Court, with senior party officials fearful about the effect of the delays on the election.

Last year, Morrison’s office was accused of leaking text messages between the prime minister and French President Emmanuel Macron over the scrapped deal to buy French submarines.

That leak followed Macron accusing Morrison of lying to him about whether the French submarine deal would go ahead, days before the AUKUS arrangement to buy nuclear submarines from the US and UK was announced.

Separately, Deputy Prime Minister Barnaby Joyce accused Morrison of being “a hypocrite and a liar” in a text message sent on to Brittany Higgins a month after the former staffer’s rape claims exploded into the public arena.

Scott Morrison and Katherine Deves.

Scott Morrison and Katherine Deves.Credit:James Brickwood, Supplied

And in a private text message exchange between Gladys Berejiklian and an unnamed Liberal cabinet member leaked earlier this year, the former NSW premier allegedly referred to Morrison as a “complete psycho” and a “horrible, horrible person”.

The latest text message leak appeared on the day Morrison will appear with Opposition Leader Anthony Albanese in the first debate of the 2022 election campaign.

The Coalition has sustained weeks of controversy over Deves’ candidacy, which some Liberals believe could damage the chances of North Sydney MP Trent Zimmerman and Wentworth MP Dave Sharma who are facing tough challenges from so-called ‘teal’ independents.

Deves has declared she is “not going anywhere” and accused her critics for “vile” bullying.

On Tuesday Morrison again backed his chosen candidate arguing “she is a woman, standing up for women and girls and their access to fair sport in this country”.

“I’m not going to allow her to be silenced, I’m not going to allow her to be pushed aside as the pile-on comes in to try and silence her,” he said in Perth on Tuesday.

Jacqueline Maley cuts through the noise of the federal election campaign with news, views and expert analysis. Sign up to our Australia Votes 2022 newsletter here.

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