John Pesutto insists Liberals won’t be distracted

MPs in both camps believe Deeming lost key supporters by firing off the legal warning less than 24 hours before Friday’s meeting.

But one Liberal MP, speaking on condition of anonymity to discuss internal party matters, said the 19 votes to dump her were not all a show of faith in Pesutto after a demoralising “shitshow”.

“[Pesutto will] have my support, but he does need to do a better job of leading. It’s not the job of followers to follow, it’s the job of leaders to lead,” the MP said. “You’ve put everyone in a situation that they did not want to be in.”

Another Liberal MP said the party had committed an “act of infanticide” by removing Deeming early in her first term, and held the leadership team responsible for the saga by first attempting to expel her almost two months ago.

A third MP, who voted against the motion to expel Deeming, was looking forward to moving on.


Deeming attended the notorious Let Women Speak rally on March 18 that was gatecrashed by neo-Nazis. Pesutto and the leadership team initially moved to expel her, but she was suspended for nine months instead in a last-minute peace deal.

Pesutto on Friday said the turmoil had not weakened his leadership after the expulsion motion received a comfortable majority.

“That’s a strong endorsement of a process that was very difficult, very challenging,” the opposition leader said.

Renee Heath was also demoted at Friday’s meeting, stripped of her role as parliamentary party secretary over a dispute about the minutes from the March 27 meeting at which Deeming was suspended.

Deeming, in her threat to sue Pesutto, sought to have Friday’s expulsion motion withdrawn. She demanded he publicly apologise and make clear she was not a Nazi sympathiser.

Moira Deeming at the Let Women Speak rally outside Parliament House on March 18.

Moira Deeming at the Let Women Speak rally outside Parliament House on March 18.Credit: Youtube

Pesutto is discussing with the Liberal Party how to fund his defence, and confirmed he would not meet Deeming’s demands.

Deeming, who didn’t attend Friday’s meeting, was contacted for comment on Saturday. She is yet to publicly comment on her expulsion, and will move to the upper house crossbench to represent the Western Metropolitan region.

In a statement last weekend she said all she wanted was to clear her name.

“The past six weeks have taken a terrible toll on me personally.”

In an email sent to Liberal rank and file members on Friday night, seen by this masthead, state Liberal president Greg Mirabella said reports the administrative committee was actively considering expelling Deeming from the wider party were incorrect.

“In the meantime, my message to all of you is this: winning elections is a team sport. It is incumbent upon all of us to unite behind the parliamentary team and its leader, and move forward.”

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