WA Liberal recruit Mark Wales uses first speech to applaud JK Rowling’s controversial views on gender identity

Joe Spagnolo
The Nightly
2 Min Read
Star WA Liberal recruit Mark Wales.
Star WA Liberal recruit Mark Wales. Credit: Ross Swanborough/The West Australian

Star WA Liberal recruit Mark Wales has used his first speech to the party faithful to applaud Harry Potter author JK Rowling’s controversial views on gender identity.

Mr Wales, an SAS veteran who rose to fame as the winner of TV’s Australian Survivor, was officially endorsed as the Liberal candidate for Tangney at the party’s State Council meeting in Bentley on Saturday.

Addressing the meeting he said he was “all in for the deep Liberal values.”

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“Starting with Freedom of speech.... like JK Rowling, standing up to the bullies who went after her for suggesting it’s not okay for men who identify as women to take the place of our daughters on swim teams.”

Mr Wales said he also backed religious freedom.

“Whatever your faith, I will defend the right to live, express it and teach it.” he said.

Rowling has made headlines in recent years for her views on gender identity.

LONDON, ENGLAND - MARCH 29: JK Rowling attends the "Fantastic Beasts: The Secrets of Dumbledore" world premiere at The Royal Festival Hall on March 29, 2022 in London, England. (Photo by Tim P. Whitby/Getty Images for Warner Bros.)
JK Rowling. Credit: Tim P. Whitby/Getty Images for Warner Bros.

She has been accused of being transphobic for saying trans women should be banned from female-only spaces, and recently challenged police in Scotland to arrest her under a new hate crime law after she described trans women as men.

She has denied the accusations, previously saying she respects “every trans person’s right to live any way that feels authentic and comfortable to them.”

In response to a 2020 essay Rowling wrote on the issue, Harry Potter stars Emma Watson and Daniel Radcliffe all spoke out in support of transgender people.

Just this week Rowling reignited the debate, writing on X: “Celebs who cosied up to a movement intent on eroding women’s hard-won rights and who used their platforms to cheer on the transitioning of minors can save their apologies for traumatised detransitioners and vulnerable women reliant on single sex spaces.”

Tangney is considered a must-win seat for the Liberals in next year’s federal election. Tagney, Pearce, Swan, Hasluck and Curtin, all traditionally blue-ribbon seats, were lost to Labor in 2022.

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