‘This was for my tennis’: Court says she won’t hand back Australia Day honours

“No [I won’t give it back], because I loved representing my nation. Whe I got my AO it was for my community outreach area, where we put out 75 tons of food a week.

“This was for my tennis and I think it was a long time coming and I’m very honoured …

“We did nothing but play for our nation.”

Ms Court refused to engage in a public war of words with Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews, saying she “prays” for the premier and the nation.

After news broke late last week of Court’s latest Australia Day award, Mr Andrews did not shy away from voicing his opposition.

“I do not support it,” he said. “I do not believe she has views that accord with the vast majority of people across our nation, that see people particularly from the LGBTIQ community as equal and deserving of dignity, respect and safety.

“I don’t give out those gongs, that’s not a matter for me, that’s for others. You might want to speak to them about why they think those views, which are disgraceful, hurtful and cost lives, should be honoured.“

But speaking on 3AW radio on Tuesday, Ms Court did not want to engage in a public argument.

“I pray for him,” she said of the premier.

“Because I feel like we’ve become so left that we’re not allowed to say anything of our traditional values. It’s OK to lie, it’s OK to have full-time abortion and a week later after a baby is born, if you kill a baby, you go to prison.”

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In Victoria, a woman can access abortion up to a gestational limit of 24 weeks. Beyond the 24 weeks, a medical practitioner can provide an abortion if another medical practitioner agrees that an abortion is appropriate in all the circumstances.

“I think it’s very sad that we’ve allowed things to go this way,” Ms Court said.

“I have nothing against the Premier of Victoria. I pray for him. I pray for the nation, I pray for gay people, I have nothing against them.”

The 78-year-old has drawn condemnation in recent years for her religious views, including claims that homosexuality was a choice and connected to “the devil”, and for her criticism of transgender athletes.

In an interview on a Christian radio station in 2017, she said women’s tennis was “full of lesbians” and compared gay activism to policies of Nazi Germany.

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On Tuesday, Ms Court said she worked with many in the LBGTI community and had only ever taught messages from the Bible.

“I don’t hate anybody, I love people and I love gay people and transgender people. We get them into our community services, we never turn anybody away,” she said.

She also hit out at the media, blaming the press for misrepresenting some of her views.

“I can be bullied, I’ve been bullied a lot in the last few years and I don’t mind, that’s all right.

“But if I say anything and then I’m a bigot and im everything else and I don’t like that and I think the press has caused a lot of that,” Court said.

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