Peta Credlin has revealed what led Victorian Liberal leader John Pesutto to abandon his attempt to Moira Deeming from the party.
Ms Deeming was set to face an expulsion motion at a special partyroom meeting on Monday morning over her attendance at a Let Women Speak rally that was crashed by a group of neo-Nazis.
However at the end of the marathon 2-hour-long meeting, it was announced that the newly-elected upper house MP would instead receive a 9-month suspension from the party.
“Effectively, Pesutto was rolled,” Sky News Australia’s Peta Credlin revealed on Monday.
“He moved his expulsion motion when the meeting opened at 10am. He spoke as did the other three members of his leadership team.
“And then over ten colleagues got up, one by one, to defend Deeming, and her cause of defending women’s rights.”
Credlin reported that despite the “strong and heartfelt” speeches from other Liberal MPs, Mr Pesutto maintained his intention to move the expulsion motion – right up until Ms Deeming spoke.
Ms Deeming then gave “one of the most powerful speeches ever delivered in that state Liberal partyroom”, with several MPs telling Credlin it brought them to tears.
Credlin exclusively revealed excerpts from the speech, in which Ms Deeming revealed the personal toll the accusation that she associated with nazis was already having on her family.
The upper house MP highlighted the absurdity of accusing the first Victorian MP of Maori descent, who had taken in and cared for a Vietnamese asylym seeker with cancer, of being “a Nazi sympathiser”; and spoke about how she had been “largely raised” by her uncle, a Jewish Holocaust survivor.
Ms Deeming also spoke about the experiences she had suffered that motivated her to stand up for women’s rights, so that “other children and women don’t suffer like I did.”
She said her supporters included both individuals who were “happily transgender” as well as “grateful detransitioners” and described the accusation she hated the trans community as “100 per cent false.”
According to Credlin, the Victorian Liberal leader accurately read the room and immediately called for a break following Ms Deeming’s speech.
“He knew then, after that powerful speech, he had lost the numbers in the room. And that’s when he moved to instead suspend her.”
Credlin said she doubted Pesutto will be Liberal leader in nine months’ time when Ms Deeming is set to rejoin the partyroom.
“This has been a terrible own goal from the beginning and at every point, where he could have pulled back, he instead, chose to make it worse. And worse it has got.”
Credlin said the Deeming affair was part of a wider Liberal Party crisis that had “delivered wall-to-wall Labor on the Australian mainland.”