All the Candidates Who've Been Dumped Or Resigned Over Social Media Posts
Political hopefuls are dropping like flies as polling day nears over dodgy social media posts.
From sexism to racism, anti-Muslim comments to questionable memes, the election candidate graveyard is growing by the day.
Multiple parties all having to let election hopefuls fall by the wayside.
Questions around background checks for election candidates have arisen this campaign, as journalists dig into their easily-accessible social media history.
Just a basic search of Facebook can throw up questionable comments from the past, and it seems that even major parties have dropped the ball in researching the people they've chosen to contest the election.
What happens when a candidate is dropped?
When dumped by a party, the candidate still stays on the ballot if they were officially accepted by the Australian Electoral Commission. Their name is not removed, they still are regarded as a legitimate candidate, people can vote for them -- and they can win.
Pauline Hanson, for example, was endorsed as a Liberal Party candidate for Oxley in 1996 but then dumped over her own controversial racial comments. She stayed in the race, running as an independent, and won -- then took her seat in parliament and later started One Nation.
More than one million Aussies have already cast their ballots early through pre-poll voting, and some have certainly voted for candidates since dumped by their party. Those votes still count for that candidate, and can't be taken back or changed, so some of these candidates could potentially be elected.
Who has been dumped?
As mentioned, all the major parties have been marred by controversial candidates. Let's run through them:
Scullin Gurpal Singh, Liberal candidate for Melbourne
On Thursday, Gurpal Singh was asked to resign as Liberal candidate for Scullin after he was slammed for a series of comments -- both online and in interviews -- where he appeared to link same-sex marriage to paedophilia, said there could be "very serious" negative effects for children raised by gay families, and according to SBS, wrote on Facebook he had "no sympathy" for a woman allegedly raped by her husband.
Wayne Kurnoth, Labor Northern Territory Senate candidate
Kurnorth resigned after revelations that he had posted an Islamic State-style meme and an anti-Semitic conspiracy video -- which claimed the world was run by Jewish shape-shifting reptiles -- online.
There was a minor controversy after Bill Shorten said he had never met the candidate, and photos later surfaced showing the two men together. Shorten's office issued a statement saying he "does not remember every single person who has approached him over the years".
Jeremy Hearn, Liberal candidate for Isaacs
Hearn was sacked as a candidate for the Melbourne seat after it was revealed that he had shared claims online that Muslims were planning to introduce sharia law into Australia and overthrow the government. After he was disendorsed, Liberal leader Scott Morrison said there needed to be better vetting procedures in the social media age.
"This is something I will be expecting the party to be working on and improving their processes," he said.
Luke Creasey, Labor candidate for Melbourne
Labor lost another candidate when 29-year-old Creasey was found to have shared a number of questionable posts when he was as young as 22, making light of rape, lesbians and Catholics. He resigned last week.
Creasey said "those awful comments... in no way reflect the views I hold today," but admitted, "we need to be careful about what we share or like on social media." Labor leader Bill Shorten said the posts were "stupid".
Jessica Whelan, Liberal candidate for Lyons
Whelan's case dominated headlines for several days when a newspaper reported she had made several anti-Muslim comments. Screenshots of comments bearing her name appeared to show her criticising "filthy Muslims" and refugees.
She later claimed the posts had been doctored, and that she would refer the matter to police -- but she later resigned as the Liberal candidate. However, she is still running in the seat as an independent, and maintains she has been subject to "false allegations".
Peter Killin, Liberal candidate for Wills
Killin was also dumped over controversial anti-gay comments, after his claims that the "homosexual lifestyle" carried "appalling health risks". He also lamented the fact he was not at the preselection for Liberal MP Tim Wilson, so he could have ensured there was "no homosexual MP". Killin resigned soon after, releasing a statement saying "my comments were wrong and I apologise unreservedly for making them."
Jay Dessi, Greens candidate for Lalor
The young Greens candidate came under fire for distasteful online jokes about sex, poor people, and appeared to poke fun at the eyes of an Asian friend. Dessi stepped down earlier this week, apologising for any offence. The Greens also apologised, and said social media created "new challenges" for elections, "particularly for younger candidates who have grown up using social media".