Turnbull, Frydenberg at odds over Deves

  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
·2-min read
In this article:
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.

Treasurer Josh Frydenberg says he found comments about transgender children made by his party's pick for Tony Abbott's old seat "unacceptable," but they raised legitimate issues.

Mr Frydenberg's defence came as former prime minister Malcolm Turnbull argued the Liberal candidate for Warringah Katherine Deves should have been disendorsed.

The treasurer visited Melbourne's west on Tuesday, where he defended debate about the participation of trans-women in sport, as he made a funding announcement for a stadium upgrade to make it more "inclusive".

Ms Deves has since had to relocate her family out of Sydney after receiving death threats over the online comments that trans teens were "surgically mutilated" and that surrogacy was "a vanity project".

Mr Frydenberg said the discussion about trans participation in sport raised "legitimate issues".

"Some of those comments were unacceptable, they were certainly insensitive, and they were certainly inappropriate," he said.

"I've made it very clear, my strong views about some of the analogies that have been used and the way that message has being communicated.

"But as to the issue of fairness in competition, I think they're real ones."

Mr Turnbull said Ms Deves' comments "seem designed to whip up animosity and hatred against some of the most vulnerable people in our community".

He said he found that unacceptable and he agreed with NSW Treasurer Matt Kean that Ms Deves should not have been put forward and should be disendorsed.

"But she is Scott Morrison's pick," Mr Turnbull told ABC's Radio National on Tuesday.

"The members of the Liberal Party in NSW don't have any say in preselections ... of late, they're all in the hands of Mr Morrison."

AAP understands Ms Deves' campaign team spoke to NSW police last week about threats made against her.

It is understood those complaints were then forwarded to federal police.

The Warringah hopeful has apologised for the controversial Twitter posts, which have since been deleted.

Ms Deves said in an SBS interview she recognised the transgender debate required "dignified and respectful" discussion rather than divisive and hurtful comments posted to social media.

Our goal is to create a safe and engaging place for users to connect over interests and passions. In order to improve our community experience, we are temporarily suspending article commenting