Deeming dodges Pesutto punishment, heads to sin bin
Victorian MP Moira Deeming has been suspended from the Victorian Liberal parliamentary party after she spoke at a women's rights rally crashed by neo-Nazis.
Moira Deeming on Monday was subject to an expulsion move, triggered by Opposition Leader John Pesutto, after she spoke an event outside Victorian parliament on March 18.
Last week, Pesutto had pledged that Deeming would be expelled, but on Monday the Western Metropolitan Legislative Councillor was instead suspended for nine months following a two-hour meeting.
Mr Pesutto said the suspension came because Ms Deeming condemned Nazism and bigotry against the LGBTQI community.
Ms Deeming made those concessions to Mr Pesutto at 6.30am on Monday ahead of the 10am meeting.
The Liberal leader told reporters:
"She's suspended from the party room, and what she's accepted is that our discussions around this must always be respectful, and inclusive, even if people disagree."
Deeming also loses her position as party whip, a role that ensures members are in the chamber for votes.
The upper house MP walked into the meeting at state parliament flanked by colleagues Renee Heath, Ryan Smith, Bev McArthur, Richard Riordan and Joe McCracken.
Fellow Legislative Council MP Nick McGowan told journalists ahead of the meeting:
"Regardless of what happens here today, I have one message: I do not believe for one second that Moira is a Nazi or a Nazi sympathiser, or has any association with Nazis.
"The only person responsible for the Nazi salute on the steps of parliament is the premier who took away police's power. Our narrative needs to return to and focus on a government that is corrupt."
The Melbourne rally featured British activist Kellie-Jay Keen-Minshull and was attended by neo-Nazis who repeatedly performed the Nazi salute.
It sparked community outrage and a commitment from the Victorian government to fast-track a ban on the gesture.
Mr Pesutto accused Ms Deeming of bringing discredit to the party over her association with rally figures with alleged links to extremists and failing to leave the event when neo-Nazis showed up.
The upper house MP has categorically denied she or organisers of the rally did anything wrong and labelled condemnation from party leadership unjust.