Katter’s party hits new low after claims gay teachers are paedophiles
Outrage is spreading as Katter’s Australian Party (KAP) has found itself in yet another anti-gay controversy after not one but two candidates of the newfound fledgling party likened gay and lesbians to paedophiles who are not fit to teach children at kindergarten.
[UPDATE - One of the candidates at the centre of the controversy, Tess Corbett, has late this afternoon announced she will no longer be contesting the federal election as a KAP candidate while the preselection of Bernard Gaynor has also now been cancelled]
While the party’s leader Bob Katter has tried to distance himself from the remarks by labelling them “a very stupid statement”, Greens Senator Sarah-Hanson Young told SX that Katter must immediately disendorse both candidates saying it seemed the party was “riddled with homophobia”.
Bob’s younger half-brother, Carl, has also slammed the latest incident of bigotry emanating from Katter’s party, with the LGBTI rights activist and potential Victorian Labor election candidate telling SX that he was thoroughly ashamed of what his sibling represented and so would be their father, the late federal politician, Bob Katter Senior, if he were alive.
“Our father would be absolutely ashamed to see the Katter name being associated with bigotry,” Carl said. “When my father was the federal member for Kennedy he stood up for all.”
GAY PEOPLE ARE NOT MORAL, KAP CANDIDATES CLAIM
Running for KAP in the federal seat of Wannon in Victoria, retired former real estate agent Tess Corbett (pictured) told her local newspaper The Hamilton Spectator in a front-page interview yesterday that gay people were a danger unto children and religious organisations and others should be able to legally discriminate against them when hiring employees.
“Paedophiles will be next in line to be recognised in the same way as gays and lesbians and get rights,” she said.
“I don’t want gays, lesbians to be working in my kindergarten. If you don’t like it go to another kindergarten.”
Corbett received support for her views last night from KAP’s potential Queensland Federal Senate candidate, Bernard Gaynor, who tweeted that he was not afraid to say he wouldn’t want gay teachers at his children's school.
“I wouldn't let a gay person teach my children and I am not afraid to say it,” he tweeted.
Speaking to media this morning, Corbett said she would not back down from her views claiming that about 80 per cent of the community shared her opinion.
“You have got morals, or you don’t,” she told the Herald-Sun.
In a statement this morning, Gaynor, an Iraq War veteran and practising Catholic, also let it be known he stood by his tweets despite a backlash against him on Twitter with other users calling him “homophobic”, “narrow minded” and “hateful”.
“Furthermore, considering both Tony Abbott and Julia Gillard oppose gay marriage it makes perfect sense that they would also be uncomfortable with teachers promoting a lifestyle that has serious negative health consequences and is opposed to the values of the majority of Australians,” Gaynor said.
“Australia has always been a Christian country and the vast majority of Australians continue to hold Christian values.”
'RIDDLED WITH HOMOPHOBIA'
Hanson-Young told SX the comments were simply unacceptable and the public deserved to know whether homophobia was part of KAP’s official policies as it was seemingly now becoming a regular occurrence.
“It appears the Katter Australian Party is riddled with homophobia, as this is not the first time comments like this have come from the party’s officials,” she said.
“If this is what we can expect from the Katter Party, it will be a short lived experiment because voters do not accept that homophobia is a part of modern Australia.”
Carl Katter said the way his half-brother responded to the comments and growing community outrage will prove to be a big test for him.
“If he wants his party to survive outside of Kennedy then he needs to call on his candidates to show respect towards marginalised Australians whether they be struggling farmers or LGBTI people,” Carl told SX.
“These are not the attitudes that we value in the great state of Victoria and certainly not the values we have come to expect from our Senators.”
NSW Gay and Lesbian Rights co-convener, Justin Koonin, said it was imperative Katter acted quickly and appropriately to stamp out the homophobia seemingly latent within his party.
“These comments are clearly inappropriate, and the majority of Australians would find them offensive,” Koonin told SX.
While saying KAP was not interested in promoting bigotry Katter has indicated the matter will be dealt with by the party internally.
“If someone has made some statement like that, I'm bloody sure the party will be making arrangements,” he said.
“The party is not interested in that, it never has been, never will be.”
NEW PARTY HAS LONG HISTORY OF ANTI-GAY BIGOTRY
Labor Senator Louise Pratt, who is also co-convener of the party’s Rainbow Labor group, told SX however that it was not a private matter that should be left behind closed doors.
“These are extremely offensive remarks made by someone who is seeking election to parliament,” she said.
“There is no place for ignorance and hatred in Australian politics.”
In 2011, shortly prior to the formation of his party, Katter found himself widely criticised after he suggested marriage equality was something that should be ridiculed and laughed at. The North Queensland-based MP for Kennedy has also previously claimed there was not one single gay person who was a constituent of his electorate.
A homophobic ad screened by KAP during last year’s Queensland state election caused widespread furore after it depicted gay men as sexual predators who liked to dress in skirts.
Following the election, Katter admitted the ads were a “simple example of insensitivity” and “a political mistake of major proportions” which he would regret “for the rest of my days”.
- Tags: Anti-Gay, Bernard Gaynor, Bigotry, Blaze, Bob Katter, Carl Katter, Controversy, Discrimination, Education, Homophobia, Justin Koonin, Katter's Australian Party, Louise Pratt, MCV, NSW Gay and Lesbian Rights Lobby, Paedophilia, Queensland, Queensland Pride, Sarah Hanson-Young, Senate, SX, Teaching, Tess Corbett, Victoria, Wannon