Politics

The Liberals Had A No Good, Very Bad, Horrible Day On The Campaign Trail

Sexism, homophobia and Islamophobia, all in one day? It must be the Liberal party!

liberals

Well, it’s been a huge day for the Liberal Party’s federal election campaign, and not in a good way. So far today, Liberal candidates have been slammed for spouting vile Islamophobia, suggesting that women simply aren’t as good at business as men, and making various homophobic comments.

Making headlines for sexism, homophobia and Islamophobia all in one day is an impressively shitty trifecta, especially during an election, and the fallout has been brutal. So far, the Libs have lost two candidates, and others may still fall. Members of the party are swiftly moving to distance themselves from their fellow candidates’ shitty comments, but it’s starting to look like whack-a-mole at this point.

Here’s what you’ve missed:

Start Your Day Off Right By Sacking Your Local Anti-Muslim Candidate

Today kicked off bright and early with a news story from the Herald Sunwhich revealed that Victorian Liberal candidate Jeremy Hearn posted some fairly Islamophobic content online last year.

Specifically, he called Muslims “people of bad character”, and called for them to be prevented from receiving Australian citizenship, amongst other things. The Liberal Party pretty quickly disavowed Hearn’s comments and dis-endorsed him as a candidate, but he’ll remain on the ballot paper seeing as voting has already begun.

Given that Hearn wrote the anti-Muslim comments in question last year, the fact that the Liberal Party didn’t manage to find out about them and dump him earlier raised questions about the party’s candidate vetting process. Can anyone just rock up and persuade the Liberal Party to put their face on some flyers? Does the Liberal Party bother to actually do any research on a person before recommending that voters elect that person to Parliament? Seeing as Hearn isn’t even the only candidate under fire for awful comments today, it’s looking like maybe the answer is no.

Even the PM admitted the party needs to do better when speaking to journalists today.

Liberal Candidate Argues That Women Can’t Do Business, Forgetting The Crucial Fact That Women Can Vote

Just before midday, the Sydney Morning Herald dropped some more bad news for the Libs. This time, NSW Liberal candidate Sachin Joshi was under fire, also for comments he made last year. Writing on LinkedIn, Joshi suggested that the gender pay gap exists simply because women lack “business skills” relative to men. He apparently forgot that women do not lack the ability to read his comments, or vote against him.

Joshi told the SMH that he has advocated strongly for equal pay for women. That may be, but his comments still look pretty bad, especially given that some of the Liberal Party’s most prominent women have slammed the party recently over its treatment of women.

Peter Killin, More Like Peter Killin-The-Liberal-Party’s-Election-Hopes

And then there’s Peter Killin, a Victorian Liberal candidate who’s been encouraging conservative Christians to join the Liberal Party to combat the rise of gay party members.

In particular, Killin took aim at Liberal MP Tim Wilson. Writing in the comments section of a conservative blog last year, he agreed with another commenter who described Wilson as a “notorious homosexual” and wrote that “no true Christian can fight on the same side of that man”. Killin described those comments as “most pertinent”, adding that Wilson only won preselection by one or two votes, and that therefore, “if you and I were there to participate in preselection the result = no homosexual MP”.

Thankfully for gays everywhere, Killin has resigned as a Liberal Party candidate. Unfortunately for the Liberal Party, that means they’ve lost two candidates in just one day, and both will remain on the ballot paper. Even more unfortunately, the party still has homophobes to spare — last week, yet another candidate, Gurpal Singh, apologised for comments he made during the postal survey on marriage equality, where he suggested that same sex marriage leads to paedophilia. He hasn’t resigned, though. Yet.

It’s Not Just The Liberals

As the Liberals are pretty keen to point out at the moment, it’s not just the Liberals: quite a few parties have managed to preselect some deeply problematic candidates. Earlier this week, one of Labor’s Senate candidates in the Northern Territory was forced to step down after sharing anti-Semitic memes. Today, the Greens called for Labor’s candidate for Melbourne, Luke Creasey, to step down after The Australian reported that he had previously posted rape jokes online. And who could forget Steve Dickson’s dramatic resignation from One Nation yesterday, after footage of him being an asshole to women at a strip club was leaked.

Still, while plenty of parties have made mistakes, the Liberals had an absolute trifecta today. And there’s still 17 days of this election to go.