PM ‘must act’ over Lib’s paedophile slur
Scott Morrison is under growing pressure to dump a Liberal candidate who believes same-sex couples who have children are likely to be paedophiles.
Just days after several political hopefuls were dumped by the Coalition and Labor for offensive comments, Gurpal Singh remains endorsed despite a series of homophobic remarks coming to light.
The Prime Minister on Friday criticised the Opposition for its delay in dealing with Luke Creasey, running in Melbourne, saying his apology for vile Facebook posts wasn't good enough.
"The standard you walk by is the standard you accept," Mr Morrison told reporters, after Bill Shorten initially supported Mr Creasey continuing as the candidate.
Questions are now being asked about why Ms Singh is still running for the Liberals in Scullin, in Melbourne's north, after attacking same-sex couples and their children.
Speaking to SBS Radio in late 2017, the lawyer said allowing people of the same sex to marry had "a very serious implication on the kids".
"It is also an issue of paedophilia - in these situations the occurrence can be high," he told the SBS Punjabi program.
"It has a very serious implication on the kids, which we can't see now, but when they grow up, how they will reconcile to the situation is beyond comprehension at this stage."
He was a prominent voice in the No campaign against same-sex marriage in Victoria and described the push to change the Marriage Act as "a totally distorted idea".
Mr Singh said the children of same-sex couples are "bad luck kids" because they are raised in "unnatural" environments.
Equality Australia chief executive officer Anna Brown said the views had no place in a mainstream political party.
"If you're a party that aims to govern for all Australians, and professes to value individual dignity, respect and diversity, then there is no place for homophobia or attitudes that reveal prejudice and lack of acceptance for cultural diversity," Ms Brown said.
Mr Singh is not the first Liberal Party candidate to express "offensive and derogatory views about LGBTIQ people", she said.
Last week, Peter Killin, the Liberal candidate in Wills in Victoria, quit ahead of expectations he would be dumped by the party, after an extraordinary homophobic attack on Liberal backbencher Tim Wilson.
It followed the sacking of Jeremy Hearn for anti-Muslim comments on Facebook, and came a day before Jessica Whelan stood down over her own offensive posts regarding Islam.
Mr Singh remains endorsed, leading opponents of the government to criticise Mr Morrison's apparent double standards.
Labor Senator Kristina Keneally described Mr Singh's remarks as "repugnant" and demanded Mr Morrison uphold the "new standard" he set last week.
"Mr Morrison has been out there saying, the standard you walk past is the standard you accept," Senator Keneally said.
"Is Mr Morrison really willing to walk past, and accept, as a standard, that it's okay to equate same-sex marriage to paedophilia? I cannot imagine a more repugnant view for a candidate to hold.
"To say that same-sex couples, people who have entered into a marriage, a loving relationship, who are raising children, who are families in our communities, who have been granted under the law the right to marry … is disgusting.
"For a Liberal candidate to stand in front of the public and say that (it) is equitable to paedophilia … that is the standard that Mr. Morrison is walking past when he fails to act on the Liberal candidate for Scullin."
When pressed on Mr Singh at the weekend, Mr Morrison said the party would "deal with these questions, as we always do".
No action has been taken and the Liberal Party has refused to answer questions about what makes Mr Singh's situation different to those candidates who were disendorsed.
Neil Pharaoh, the former national co-convener of Rainbow Labor, said Mr Singh had simply lipped under the radar during a "hideous week" of candidate controversies.
"Had this occurred in any normal week, more attention would've been given to what he said," Mr Pharaoh said.
"His electorate is overwhelmingly diverse and his views are outdated and out-of-touch with both the electorate and Victoria and Australia more broadly.
"Mr Singh's comments are as bad or worse than a number of other remarks have been, and those candidates have been disendorsed.
"The fact that we have anyone running for political office who holds these views is abhorrent."
Mr Singh's views, and their apparent acceptance by the Liberal Party, could have a negative impact on the LGBTIQ community, he said.
"He's had no punishment for effectively saying gay people are paedophiles. That wasn't appropriate 20 years ago and it's not today," Mr Pharoah said.
"It continues to isolate a community that already has higher mental health issues and instances of suicide than the general community. He needs to be disendorsed."
It's understood Mr Singh enjoys strong support in his branch as well as in the Liberal Party's far-right faction in Victoria.
In a brief statement, Mr Singh said: "I apologise unreservedly for those comments. They were wrong and I am sorry."
Mr Morrison's office referred a request for comment to the Liberal campaign office, which did not respond to specific questions regarding Mr Singh's candidacy and his support from the party.