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‘She doesn’t speak for us’: Liberals disown Teena McQueen after Q&A appearance

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She accused him of “inciting violence” but could not provide any details to back her allegation, which host Tony Jones warned was “probably defamatory”. When pressed for details, Ms McQueen retreated and said: “It was definitely hate speech”.

She also dismissed far-right provocateur Milo Yiannopoulos, who was banned by the Morrison government from entering Australia over incendiary comments, as an “entertainer”.

Citing her own personal experience of meeting Donald Trump at a beauty pageant, she said there was no evidence white supremacy was on the rise and Trump was not a racist.

“I was chaperoned with him in the Miss Universe contest when he was running that … he was not racist, not sexist, none of those things,” she said.

Mary-Lou Jarvis, president of the NSW Liberal Women’s Council, contacted party elders Nick Greiner, Chris Stone and Philip Ruddock on Monday night to complain about Ms McQueen’s appearance.

Ms Jarvis told The Sydney Morning Herald and The Age Ms McQueen did not represent the vast majority of Liberals.

“I am confident neither the federal president, state president or state director authorised her to speak on behalf of the Liberal Party,” Ms Jarvis said.

“She was certainly not speaking on my behalf nor many other Liberals based on the complaints I received as the program progressed.”

The Sydney Morning Herald and The Age have been told that Ms McQueen’s media appearances have been of concern to Liberals for some time.

In February, she was challenged at a meeting of the party’s federal executive by cabinet minister Simon Birmingham and Mr Greiner about her media appearances. Senator Birmingham stressed she needed to choose between being a media commentator or a party office-bearer.

But she stunned colleagues when she refused, saying: “But I have a contract with Sky.”

Liberal Party president Nick Greiner had previously ordered Ms McQueen to stop appearing on Sky.

Liberal Party president Nick Greiner had previously ordered Ms McQueen to stop appearing on Sky.Credit:Dominic Lorrimer

“She wouldn’t stop saying, ‘I have a contract and the money’s good,’ ” said one source familiar with the events of the February 15 discussion. It is one of two meetings in which Ms McQueen was asked to reconsider her television exposure.

Ms McQueen did not respond to a request for comment.

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Who is Teena McQueen?

From NSW, McQueen is a hard-right factional ally of former prime minister Tony Abbott.

She was elected to the federal council in 2018, in a factional row over the federal leadership when the hard-right wanted to roll the former Howard government minister Trish Worth.

The rolling was punishment to Ms Worth for critical comments about Mr Abbott being a spoiler with his constant interventions in leadership issues. It was also intended to send Malcolm Turnbull a message.

At the time, the West Australian powerbroker Mathias Cormann opposed any change and advocated supporting Ms Worth as part of a stability pact. But he was opposed by younger right wingers Victorian MP Michael Sukkar, ACT Senator Zed Seselja and the veteran right winger Eric Abetz.

Latika Bourke is a journalist for The Sydney Morning Herald and The Age, based in London.

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