The UAP’s Tony Hanley: Comments are ‘defendable’. File photo.
The United Australia Party candidate for Bean, Tony Hanley, is the latest would-be politician to be embroiled in controversy over offensive social media posts, with a Facebook account in his name making sexist and racist comments.
It also puts the spotlight on the Coalition’s preference deal with Clive Palmer’s UAP. The Liberal party has placed Mr Hanley second on its how to vote cards behind its candidate Ed Cocks.
Labor has placed Mr Hanley second last ahead of Mr Cocks.
The Facebook account has since been deleted but the posts deride gays and lesbians as the most horrible people ever, say the average taxi driver has five wives and 23 kids, who might be future terrorists, and suggests it’s time for a superbug to cull populations overseas.
The ABC reported the account also carried online posts referring to women and same-sex attracted women as “fem-nasties”, “dykes”, “big fat fugly chicks” and “Dolly Birds FEMBOTS”.
One post, in a response to an ABC story about a Saudi agricultural company buying farmland, stated: “Vote for selling our politicians off to the tea towel heads!”
The ABC said Mr Hanley had declined to be interviewed but said in texts that the posts were “defendable” and cited his record of good works in the Canberra community.
In a sign the UAP is in damage control, its candidate for Fenner, Glen Hodgson, has also pulled down his Facebook account.
“We don’t support these comments and are encouraging all Canberrans to vote Liberal,” the party said.
Labor condemned the preference deal and said it had put the UAP and the Liberals in unwinnable positions at the bottom of its how-to-vote card because it believed that both of these candidates should not represent Canberra in the Federal Parliament.
“Only the Liberals and Zed Seselja are doing deals with Clive Palmer and Tony Hanley in Canberra in a desperate attempt to hold onto power,” Labor said.
“Zed Seselja needs to explain to Canberrans why he has put this candidate in the number two position, directly after himself. Why is Zed and his Liberal candidates in Canberra asking Canberrans to vote for a man who is sprouting derogatory and racist views on social media?”
Greens candidate for Bean Johnathan Davis has also voiced his opinion on the issue, taking to Twitter to say, “In light of recent comments on social media, I urge Tony Hanley (@UnitedAusParty Can. for Bean) to consider his future, and for @ZedSeselja and the @CanberraLibs to remove him as their #2 on their [how-to-vote cards].”
The Liberal Party has now lost three candidates because of their social media posts, with Tasmanian Liberal candidate Jessica Whelan resigning today after being linked to Facebook posts containing anti-Muslim and anti-immigration views.
Two Victorian Liberal candidates had already quit this week over their anti-Muslim and homophobic social media posts.
Labor has also lost one of its candidates in Melbourne for making ‘lewd’ comments online, and a Northern Territory Senate hopeful has had to resign.
The UAP was contacted for comment.