Yet another One Nation candidate is facing the chop over online activity, but party leader Pauline Hanson is yet to decide whether she’ll swing the axe.
A blog post on the website of One Nation’s Queensland candidate Peter Rogers claimed images of a three-year-old Syrian refugee washed up on a beach in 2015 were fabricated, and mentioned the ”total lies” of Tasmania’s 1996 Port Arthur massacre.
“The greatest social changes that happen in Australia are founded on total lies and a fabricated incident. Look at Port Arthur,” the post read.
Mr Rogers has since said he was overseas and that an administrator wrote the post without his knowledge.
He is the third state candidate in three-and-a-half weeks to get into strife with One Nation over online activity.
Senator Hanson said Mr Rogers was stupid to surrender control of his own website to someone else, but would not yet say if it would cost him his candidacy.
“He, in his own stupidity, he allowed someone to control his website,” she told reporters on Friday.
The One Nation leader said she’d investigate the matter further but noted Mr Rogers had accepted responsibility for the post, apologised for it, and offered his resignation.
“I will take a strong stand on this but it will not be trial by media,” she said.
“Sometimes people make the wrong decision, wrong mistakes, but it doesn’t mean to say you walk away from your mates, your friends.”
Tasmanian Greens senator Nick McKim said Senator Hanson had no choice but to sack Mr Rogers, and said she must apologise over the Port Arthur comments, which he said were “breathtaking in their insensitivity” given 35 people were murdered in the 1996 massacre.
The blog post, which has since been deleted, also said that refugee Syrian toddler Aylan Kurdi, whose tiny body washed up on a Turkish beach after a bid to reach Greece by boat, was “alive and well”.
The toddler died after his family, sheltering in Turkey from the war in Syria, decided to make a desperate bid to reach Greece from Turkey in a flimsy inflatable boat.
Aylan’s mother Rihana and brother Ghaleb, four, died in the same incident.
Images of Aylan sparked outrage around the world and helped spur European nations to seek an effective response to the growing migrant crisis.
“The whole photo thing was fabricated, as it turns out this kid was alive and well,” the post read.
The post went on to target Aylan’s father Abdullah Kurdi over what was called varied accounts of the drowning, accusing him of ”crocodile tears” and ”intentionally framing the system”.
“His story is made-up. He was never on that boat to watch his wife and children drown,” the post read. “Listen to all the contradictions and holes in his story.”
“After leaving from what they say was a war zone (Syria is huge and the entire country is not a war zone) the Kurdi family was given FREE housing in Turkey and had been there for THREE years. Abdullah Kurdi was not in any war zone! He was safe, he had food, he had over $4,400 in cash, which is over 13,000 Turkish Lira – so why did he leave?
“Frankly the whole story simply doesn’t add up.”
PRESS RELEASE: After talks with party executive Pauline Hanson's One Nation candidate for Mulgrave, Peter Rogers, has offered to step down. pic.twitter.com/bJSY9ff8UY
— Pauline Hanson (@PaulineHansonOz) January 13, 2017
Less than a week ago, Senator Hanson dumped Bundamba candidate Shan Ju Lin after she used social media to say “gays should be treated as patients” and that “abnormal sex behaviour leads to abnormal crime”.
And late last month, just days after Senator Hanson named her first line-up of Queensland candidates, Andy Semple withdrew from the contest for Currumbin.
He’d posted comments on Twitter about burqas being banned, described vegans as “miserable people” and said women with unshaved armpits were “not cool at all” and later railed about his treatment.
“It seems #PHON (Pauline Hanson’s One Nation) only likes certain types of Freedom of Expression,” Mr Semple tweeted afterwards.
– with ABC