Victorian Liberal leader John Pesutto is revealing his “inexperience” by continuing to attack upper house MP Moira Deeming rather than admit he was wrong, Peta Credlin has argued.
The Sky News hose used her Tuesday evening editorial to highlight how the Victorian opposition leader had failed to live up to his end of the last-minute agreement that allowed the party to avoid voting on the planned expulsion motion had struggled to justify.
“In return for copping a nine-month suspension from the Liberal party room, Victorian MP Moria Deeming was supposed to get a statement from her leader to the effect that he didn’t think that she was soft on extremism,” Credlin said
“This, remember, was all triggered because the Victorian opposition leader John Pesutto, somehow holds Deeming responsible for the neo-Nazis that gatecrashed the women’s rights rally she was at ten days ago.”
“But instead of clearing Deeming, and admitting that he overreacted to something that was never her fault, Pesutto has spent most of the past 24 hours continuing to demonise this good Liberal woman and attempting to bully her into silence.”
Credlin revealed how Ms Deeming had told her she was avoiding speaking to the media because she didn’t want to jeopordise the upcoming Aston by-election, which Credlin claimed was in stark contrast to the actions of her party leader.
“H’s knocking himself out with wall-to-wall media, trying to make Deeming some sort of villain,” Credlin said.
The Sky News host and former prime ministerial chief of staff also highlighted how Pesutto was either wrong over intentionally misleading when discussing the terms of Ms Deeming’s suspension – which Credlin said “shows his inexperience as Liberal leader.”
“Under the rules of a suspension, Deeming’s return to the party room is automatic at the end of the nine months,” Credlin said.
“It doesn’t require another vote of the party room as Pesutto was forced to admit in the room with his MPs yesterday.
“The only way she doesn’t return is if he moves another motion to expel and that motions gets up.
“But given he was rolled yesterday, given he did not have the votes to expel her, I can’t see this happening and neither can the vast majority of his colleagues, given his support as leader, is fast ebbing away.”
On Monday night’s program, Credlin revealed excerpts of the Ms Deeming’s “powerful” speech to the Liberal Party room that helped save her from expulsion.
In the speech, Ms Deeming spoke about the personal cost the accusations were already having on her family; She revealed how she was “largely raised” by her uncle, a Jewish holocaust survivor; and she discussed the tragic personal circumstances that motivated her to stand up for women’s rights.
“As you heard from me here last night, when I read to you, some of what Deeming said in her party room speech, she is not anti-trans. She just wants women to get a fair go.” Credlin said.
“Yesterday, in her party room speech, she told fellow MPs that she was repeatedly raped as a four-year-old, which is why she is so determined to fight for women’s spaces.
“And that on the question of Nazi-like views, as someone raised by her Jewish uncle, a Holocaust survivor, she finds the accusations levelled at her, abhorrent.
“Yet still, her leader is trying to fit her up as some kind of extremist, as a way to burnish his own ‘strong man’ credentials.
“Frankly, it’s disgusting.”