A Victorian Liberal candidate has resigned after comments he made describing “the homosexual lifestyle” as “dangerous” and a homophobic rant against gay Liberal MP Tim Wilson came to light.
The party’s candidate for the inner-north Melbourne seat of Wills, Peter Killin, commented on a conservative blog in December that not enough Liberal Christian right members had attended a party vote to stop Wilson from being pre-selected, on the basis of his sexuality.
Killin made the remarks in the comments thread of the blog of Christian-right blogger Bill Muehlenberg, in response to a post by another commenter who called on the “Liberal grassroots” to “remove preselection from that notorious homosexual Tim Wilson” and added “no true Christian can fight on the same side of that man,” the Sydney Morning Herald reported.
Killin responded, “Your observations about Mr T Wilson, federal member for Goldstein are most pertinent at this point.
“Many of us will recall he was the openly homosexual who proposed to his boyfriend in parliment [sic].”
Killin went on to lobby conservative colleagues to do more to prevent gay people from being elected.
“ONE LOUSY VOTE!” he said of Wilson’s pre-selection.
“So, if you and I were there to participate in preselection the result = no homosexual MP.
“Thats what grass roots is – you and me – not someone else!”
In a submission to the Ruddock Religious Freedom Review last year, Killin described as “a statement of fact” the anti-gay views of a Presbyterian pastor who believes “the homosexual lifestyle” is “distressingly dangerous” and carries “appalling health risks”.
Killin also wrote online last year that abortion and “gender ideologies” were “evil” and said Christians should “infiltrate, influence, impel” to “change a [political party] from within”.
The candidate issued an apology for the comments on Wednesday, but initially refused to step down.
“My comments were wrong and I apologise unreservedly for making them,” Killin said in a statement.
Reacting to Killin’s online comments, Tim Wilson told the Herald that he was “culturally Anglican” and learnt at a young age “to turn the other cheek and leave judgment to others.”
“I’ve been absolutely consistent from pre-selection to election to seeking re-election that I’m a forward-looking, modern Liberal proudly representing a forward-looking modern liberal community and that won’t change.”
The seat of Wills is held by Labor, and the Greens challenger, Adam Pulford, is an LGBTIQ advocate.
“I’ve been standing next to Peter Killin at pre-poll today. It’s strange to think he harbours so much hatred to me, just because of who I am,” Pulford tweeted.
“Peter Killin wants to keep people like me out of Parliament, because of my sexuality. I want to keep people like Peter Killin out of Parliament, because people like him seek public office to spread hate about people like me.”
The candidate’s resignation came just hours after fellow Victorian Liberal contender Jeremy Hearn was dumped after anti-Muslim comments he had posted online were unearthed.
Late last week, another Liberal candidate in Victoria, Gurpal Singh, apologised for linking same-sex marriage with paedophilia during the marriage equality debate in 2017.
And two weeks ago, Prime Minister Scott Morrison defended Liberal candidate Gladys Liu after it emerged she said in 2016 that Chinese-Australians believe same-sex marriage “is against normal practice” and they don’t want the “next generation destroyed … by these sort of concepts of same-sex, transgender, intergender, crossgender and all this rubbish.”
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