Politics

We Finally Know How Bad A Liberal Candidate Has To Be Before They’re Dumped

Homophobia alone isn't quite enough.

Gurpal Singh

The Liberal Party has finally gone ahead and ditched candidate Gurpal Singh, two weeks after his 2017 comments linking same-sex marriage to paedophilia came to light. As it turns out, though, those comments weren’t the ones that crossed the line for the Libs — Singh was only asked to resign after it emerged that he has also made comments dismissing a woman’s allegations of rape.

In comments made on an SBS article in 2018, Singh wrote that he disagreed with the allegation of rape made in the article, adding that it’s “shameful that a married woman suffering family violence can go to such extent”. He wrote that he had “no sympathy” for the woman in question, and in another comment wrote that the “real victim is the husband”.

Yesterday, a Liberal Party spokesperson confirmed that “based on new information that has come to light, Mr Gurpal Singh has been asked to resign as the candidate for Scullin”, adding that Singh has apologised for the comments. It’s good to know that dismissing allegations of rape crosses the line for the Liberal Party, but it’s also a little baffling that Singh’s comments about gay people and paedophilia apparently did not cross that line.

After all, those comments were not new information — Singh made them in 2017, and the Liberal Party has been under pressure to dis-endorse Singh over them for two weeks now. As for what he actually said, during the postal survey on same-sex marriage Singh said that same-sex marriage was “against nature”, questioning the “implications” for children of same-sex parents.

“When these children grow up, how they will reconcile to the situation is beyond comprehension,” he said at the time. “How do you perceive that situation and what is the overall impact? I think there is also an issue of paedophilia”.

Singh apologised for these comments only after The Age contacted him to ask about them, just two weeks ago. And before Singh’s additional comments about rape surfaced, the Liberal Party — including Scott Morrison — was prepared to stand by him.

Just two days ago at a press conference, Morrison was asked about Singh’s homophobic comments, and told reporters that “that matter was dealt with by the party organisation several weeks ago”.

“What did they do to deal with it, Prime Minister?” a journalist asked. “His candidacy has continued,” Scott Morrison said.

It no longer continues. And when he was asked about Singh today, Scott Morrison said “I’m pleased he’s resigned. He should have resigned”. I guess we know where the Liberal Party draws the line, then?

Meanwhile, Clive Palmer has also had to ditch a candidate overnight, this time because the candidate in question was revealed to be a 9/11 truther. They join the many other candidates parties have had to ditch this election over some truly concerning views.