Ousted Liberal Party MP Cathrine Burnett-Wake condemns extremists in politics

A Victorian Liberal Party politician who was ousted at pre-selection by a candidate linked to a Pentecostal church has lashed out at extremism in politics in her final speech as a parliamentarian.

Upper House Member for Eastern Victoria Cathrine Burnett-Wake was widely expected to contest the November state election, but despite being personally endorsed by federal Opposition Leader Peter Dutton, he was instead tossed from the ticket when City Builder’s Church member Renee Heath won pre-selection.

In her tenure as the first Liberal female upper house member for Eastern Victoria, Ms Burnett-Wake served on inquiries into Victoria’s criminal justice system, children affected by parental incarceration, and extremism.

In her valedictory speech to parliament on Wednesday night, Ms Burnett-Wake said extremism was a danger to democracy.

“These cults try to splinter our society while, ironically, speaking of oneness and unity,” she said.

“Their extreme positions always serve the divide and conquer approach.

“Ordinary Victorians need to awaken to the threat from these groups.

“We must be vigilant, and we must ensure that our democracy is upheld.”

An ABC investigation last month found dozens of Liberal Party members, particularly in Gippsland, had recently left the party due to concerns about infiltration by church groups.

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