Liberal councillor blames “gay boys” in leaked messages

Liberal councillor blames “gay boys” in leaked messages
Image: Waverley Liberal Councillor Sally Betts. Still from ABC News.

Leaked messages from a private WhatsApp group for Liberal women show Waverley Councillor Sally Betts saying, “the gay boys are … a bit (sic) issue and carry a lot of power”.

The comments were made after a female candidate lost in a bid to be preselected in the seat of Cook.

Group members were reportedly agitated after former McKinsey consultant Simon Kennedy easily won preselection in the safe seat in Sydney’s south, replacing former prime minister Scott Morrison.

Betts had reportedly just listened to an episode of Insiders: On Background featuring Charlotte Mortlock, founder of Hilma’s Network.

Veteran Family Advocate Commissioner Gwen Cherne had finished a distance third in the Cook preselection.

“Just listened to the podcast, thanks Charlotte. We will work out gender balance of Cook Preselection just for info. You were spot on, of course. Difficult to say, but the gay boys are a bit (sic) issue and carry a lot of power,” Betts wrote.

Mortlock had posted on X the day after International Women’s Day: “Yesterday, on IWD, the NSW Liberal Party voted on our state executive. We didn’t get a SINGLE woman up. We now have: a male federal leader. A male NSW leader. A male NSW Director. A male NSW president. And FOUR male Vice Presidents.”

Betts says she has been fighting for greater female representation in the party for decades.

To The Sydney Morning Herald, she said, “I have been a member of the Liberal Party for 40-plus years and have been fighting to increase female representation for decades.”

“I should know better than to use language like that. I apologise and regret my choice of words.”

Dubbed the “most powerful person in Sydney’s east” by former prime minister Malcolm Turnbull, for whom she worked as a staffer, Betts is a longterm member of the Liberal Party, sitting on the party’s state executive.

She has been a member of Waverley Council for 25 years, including 8 as mayor.


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