Racist posts: Aussie PM cuts ties with 3rd coalition candidate

CANBERRA • Prime Minister Scott Morrison of Australia has cut ties with a third coalition candidate within a week because of offensive social media posts, potentially hurting his conservative government's bid for re-election this month.

Ms Jessica Whelan yesterday announced she was withdrawing her candidacy for the seat of Lyons in Tasmania after a series of anti-Islamic remarks were revealed to have been posted on her Facebook page.

"We have taken action on the issue," Mr Morrison told reporters when asked about Ms Whelan yesterday. The racist comments were views "that I don't share, that I don't accept and I won't stand for", he said.

A separate social media scandal later in the day saw a candidate from the opposition Labor party withdraw from the election race.

The Labor candidate for the seat of Melbourne quit after misogynist and pornographic posts were found on his social media account.

Ms Whelan's decision to withdraw came after the ruling Liberal-National coalition's campaign spokesman Simon Birmingham said the government had decided to "take steps" against her.

"Clearly these posts were inappropriate, and the Liberal Party was not aware of their existence before they were reported," Ms Whelan said in her resignation letter.

Earlier this week, two other Liberal candidates were disendorsed - one for anti-Muslim comments, and another for a homophobic attack on a party colleague. The revelations come just days after a poll showed the government narrowing the gap against Labor in the run-up to the May 18 election.

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on May 04, 2019, with the headline 'Racist posts: Aussie PM cuts ties with 3rd coalition candidate'. Print Edition | Subscribe