Australian election candidate quits over anti-LGBT comments

Australian Liberal Party candidate Peter Killin

An Australian election candidate has resigned after it was revealed he penned internet comments attacking an openly gay MP from his own party and calling for anti-LGBT evangelicals to “infiltrate” politics.

Peter Killin stepped down as the governing Liberal Party’s candidate for the seat of Wills, in the state of Victoria, on Wednesday (May 1), with just weeks to go until the May 18 elections.

According to The Age, Killin had made the offending comments in the comments section on a December 2018 blog post by Christian-right author Bill Muehlenberg.

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In his comments, Killin agreed with other users who had called for Liberal activists to purge the party of “that notorious homosexual Tim Wilson,” who is one of the only out gay Liberal MPs and a strong supporter of equal marriage.

Killin wrote: “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].”

Australian election: Prime Minister Scott Morrison at a press conference on national security ahead of Question Time at Parliament House on December 06, 2018 in Canberra, Australia.

Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison at a press conference on national security ahead of Question Time at Parliament House on December 06, 2018 in Canberra, Australia. (Tracey Nearmy/Getty)

He noted that Wilson was selected for his seat by “ONE LOUSY VOTE,” explaining: “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!”

Killin also called on evangelicals to “1. Infiltrate 2. Influence 3. Impel” to “change a party from within.”

The candidate had also previously penned a submission to a government inquiry on religious freedom in which he defended claims that “the dangers and health risks [of homosexuality] have been well documented in many reliable medical sources for years.”

Killin had insisted the claims were a “biblical perspective backed up by current medical science.”

‘Bigots are not welcome in the Liberal Party’

The candidate’s resignation was confirmed by the Liberal Party.

A Liberal Party source told The Age: “The party is about the rights of the individual, not the rights of bigots.

“Bigots are not welcome in the Liberal Party and that’s the way it should be.”

Prime Minister Scott Morrison called for his own party to improve its candidate vetting in the wake of the resignation, which follows similar scandals.

He said: “For the Liberal Party in this day and age when there is social media, multiple posting, that represents new challenges in the vetting of candidates.”

Wills is currently represented by Labor MP Peter Khalil, with the previous Liberal candidate coming third in 2016.

Khalil said: “Disgraceful comments by my Liberal opponent. Equality before the law is a fundamental principle of our democracy, regardless of sexuality, gender, ethnicity or faith.

“Chaotic Lib Govt selected this candidate. Vote Labor for a modern progressive Govt.”

Another Liberal candidate, Gurpal Singh, apologised in April for anti-gay comments he made in a 2017 radio interview.

Singh said same-sex marriage was unnatural and linked it to paedophilia.