Prime Minister Scott Morrison has defended Victorian Liberal candidate Gladys Liu after comments she made in 2016 disparaging LGBTIQ issues resurfaced.
Liu, the Liberal candidate for the seat of Chisholm in Melbourne’s east, told The Guardian in 2016 that Chinese immigrants believe same-sex marriage “is against normal practice”.
“The Chinese people come to Australia because they want good education for their children, good environment,” she said.
“They want good things for their next generation, not to be destroyed – they use the word destroyed – by these sort of concepts of same-sex, transgender, intergender, crossgender and all this rubbish.
“To them this is just ridiculous rubbish.”
In response, Liu said the story was “fake news” and she had been taken out of context but the Guardian responded by publishing audio of the exchange.
Liu said on Tuesday the comments were not her personal views and she “firmly supports equality across our community.”
Prime Minister Scott Morrison defended Liu after the backlash, saying he was proud to launch her election campaign.
“As she said at the time when she was campaigning for the previous Liberal candidate, and now current member in Chisholm, she was simply saying that these were the views of that community,” Morrison said.
Labor opposition leader Bill Shorten called Ms Liu a “rogue candidate”.
“It would be very interesting to see how Mr Morrison handles this rogue candidate in Chisholm, because he needs to make up his mind on a couple of questions,” he said.
“Whether he wants as a candidate for the Liberal Party someone who said such hurtful things about her fellow Australians.
“Two, whether he wants as a candidate for the Liberal Party someone who stood in front of the media and said it didn’t happen when clearly it did.”
Senior Liberal Josh Frydenberg told ABC News Breakfast Liu’s comments “don’t reflect my views or Scott Morrison or the party’s views” and Liu was a “strong local candidate who would not be disendorsed.”
“The point is we, as a party, stand for tolerance, and as a party and as a government we have presided over the same-sex marriage debate which ended successfully,” he said.
Labor’s candidate in Chisholm, Jennifer Yang, said Liu’s generalisation of the Chinese community’s views was “abhorrent”.
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