Prime Minister Scott Morrison has defended a Liberal candidate who has kept his job more than a week after offensive comments linking same-sex marriage to child sex abuse resurfaced.
Gurpal Singh, a lawyer and lecturer who is the Liberal candidate for the Victorian seat of Scullin, said in 2017 Singh described same-sex marriage as “unnatural” and linked it to paedophilia while campaigning for the “no” vote during the same-sex marriage postal survey that year.
“Here we are doing something that is against nature,” he told SBS Radio in October 2017.
“It is also an issue of paedophilia — in these situations the occurrence can be high.
“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.”
Singh “unreservedly” apologised for the comments late last month, but Prime Minister Scott Morrison has been under pressure to dump the candidate after last week declaring “the standard you walk by is the standard you accept” while criticising Labor candidate Luke Creasey over past offensive comments.
On Wednesday, Morrison dismissed calls to sack Singh for the paedophilia slur.
“That matter was dealt with by the party organisation several weeks ago, the party organisation dealt with it,” he said at a press conference.
When asked by a journalist how it was dealt with, Morrison added, “His candidacy has continued.”
Candidate’s comments are ‘repugnant’
Equality Australia chief executive officer Anna Brown told news.com.au on Tuesday 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,” she said.
Labor Senator Kristina Keneally said Singh’s remarks are “repugnant” and demanded Scott Morrison dump the candidate.
“Mr Morrison has been out there saying, the standard you walk past is the standard you accept,” she told news.com.au.
“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 [about] same-sex couples, people who have entered into a marriage, a loving relationship, raising children, who are families in our communities, who have been granted under the law the right to marry … is disgusting.”
Candidates sacked for past comments
Several candidates were sacked last week after past social media comments resurfaced.
Liberal candidate Gladys Liu also kept her job 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.”
The federal election will be held on May 18.
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