The 22-year-old in line to replace popular Greens politician Scott Ludlam has refused to apologise for comparing Australia to Nazi Germany.
Western Australia Senate candidate Jordon Steele-John is expected to replace Mr Ludlam, who resigned over his dual New Zealand citizenship in July.
Mr Steele-John would become Australia’s youngest ever senator.
But as the High Court considers the process to officially fill the now-vacant Senate spot, The New Daily has uncovered two Facebook posts on Mr Steele-John’s personal account that could cause controversy before he even takes his place in Parliament.
In January 2014, during Tony Abbott’s prime ministership, Mr Steele-John used his personal account to share a post with the tagline: “A quick glimpse at the new government.”
The image (below), originally shared to the Facebook page ‘Tony Abbotts (sic) Lies and other Liberal Promises’, likens Australia to Nazi Germany.
A second post (below), also shared in January 2014, features Mr Abbott holding a book – presumably the Bible – while he is sworn in by then-Governor-General Quentin Bryce. The headline references Mein Kampf, Adolf Hitler’s autobiography and political manifesto.
In a statement, Mr Steele-John did not apologise for the posts.
He told The New Daily that the Abbott government’s 2014 budget was “particularly cruel and demoralising” towards groups such as young people, people with a disability and refugees.
“It was within this context, three years ago, that I casually hit re-share on these two pieces of content. I am now of course more cognizant of the content I share via social media,” he said.
Mr Steele-John, a disability advocate who has cerebral palsy, was third on the Greens’ WA Senate ticket behind Mr Ludlam and Senator Rachel Siewert.
He has deferred his politics course at Macquarie University in order to enter the Senate having previously run as a Greens candidate in 2013 and in the 2014 special election to fill WA’s federal Senate seats.
If the High Court orders a recount, which is expected, Mr Steele-John would replace Mr Ludlam.
A day after Mr Ludlam resigned, the 22-year-old expressed hesitancy at taking up a position in the Senate, saying he’d be “happier putting the choice of candidate back into the hands of our party membership”.
In July, the Greens requested that the media not contact the would-be senator.
Mr Steele-John later confirmed he wanted the job.
“We are only at the beginning of this process and there are still a lot of steps to go, but I am ready to do this job,” he said in a statement.
A directions hearing to determine how to fill Mr Ludlam’s seat will be held by the High Court on Thursday.
Mr Abbott was contacted for comment.