Katherine Deves’ door dash kicks off campaign’s second half

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When later questioned about how this mission aligned with comments by Deves, who opposes transgender women in female sport, the prime minister said they were separate issues.

Deves has made several since-deleted comments on social media, including likening men “with trans identities” to sex offenders.

“She has withdrawn those and she said they’re insensitive, and that was my view as well,” Morrison told the media pack.

Then it was off to the rally, where Morrison switched gears with an assertion there was “no time for weakness” under Labor’s Anthony Albanese.

Marise Payne, usually one of the Liberals’ most self-contained figures, stalked a frenzied crowd to the anthem ‘Thunderstruck’ and offered a show of pep to signal the campaign’s second half.

The Foreign Affairs Minister affected a more lively gait as she announced sitting MPs and candidates in knife-edge seats atop distorted guitars, warming the stage for the main act while party die-hards cheered below her.

Foreign Affairs Minister Marise Payne entered to the theme of AC’/DC’s ‘Thunderstruck’.Credit:James Brickwood

Then Morrison arrived with a “how good, how good”, barely audible above the applause at an event billed as a Sydney homecoming which also neatly fell on the same day as Labor’s campaign launch in Western Australia.

Morrison paid tribute to NSW Premier Dominic Perrottet. Morrison recently denied leaking a text message from Perrottet expressing support for the embattled Warringah candidate.

Perrottet remained seated throughout but Reid MP Fiona Martin, Lindsay member Melissa McIntosh, and Macquarie candidate Sarah Richards all leapt to their feet to sell the government’s message.

As the event closed, the Warringah candidate was bustled out by a security detail which forged the way through reporters lobbing queries at the candidate. The swarm moved through the ballroom to a lift, at the back of which Deves stood shielded by the bouncers keeping media at bay.

Meanwhile, Perrottet posing for selfies, meandered casually out the door.

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