Monday, 23 May 2016

Federal Election 2016: another one bites the dust

It‘s becoming hard to keep up with the falling bodies in this federal election campaign.

ABC News, 20 May 2016:

The Liberal Party's candidate for the federal seat of Fremantle, Sherry Sufi, has resigned from his position in the wake of controversy over past comments he made about same-sex marriage and constitutional recognition.

He has apologised for a video and audio recording made in 2013, as reported in the Fremantle Herald, where he mocked his then boss MLA Michael Sutherland's accent and made sexually explicit comments.

Mr Sufi later resigned as his electorate officer after Mr Sutherland was made aware of the recording.

Mr Sufi, who has also quit as the chair of the WA Liberals' policy committee, said he wanted to avoid causing further distraction for Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull.

In February, Mr Sufi told Buzzfeed that recognising Indigenous Australians in the constitution was "a move to divide the country".

And in 2013, he linked same-sex marriage with polygamy and polyamory.

Mr Sufi said the decision was made in the wake of the attention his comments had received.

"I apologise if my words and actions have caused offence to anyone. This was never my intent," Mr Sufi said.

"I am disappointed that I will not be seeing this campaign through, but I am putting the interests of the Liberal Party first. I want to avoid further distraction from the good work being done by the Prime Minister and his Liberal team."

On a visit to the seat earlier this week, Mr Turnbull was forced to distance himself from Mr Sufi's comments and explain why the then-candidate was not present at his media conference.

"This is a national announcement," the Prime Minister said on Monday.

"I'm the Prime Minister and I hope he's out there engaging with the people of Fremantle and doing good door-knocking. [It's] very character-building. I've done it myself."…..

Mr Sufi had already received negative publicity over his comments opposing same-sex marriage and indigenous recognition and was surprisingly not present when Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull visited the Fremantle electorate earlier this week.
But it was his role as the alleged instigator in an earlier incident involving the now speaker of the WA parliament that finally prompted his resignation ahead of the July election.
The Fremantle Herald revealed that Mr Sufi, working as a staffer for Mt Lawley MLA Michael Sutherland in 2013, mocked his boss using graphic sexual references.
During a social function the former liberal candidate for Fremantle was said to have adopted Mr Sutherland's South African accent to describe a series of sexual adventures at the University of Johannesburg:
"When I was a freshman in college, you know, I f--ed, you know, every f---ing hot bitch in the University of Johannesburg," Mr Sufi is alleged to have said.
"I shoved the old member up her flute."
The incident was apparently recorded - as was a subsequent prank call to office volunteers.
Mr Sufi resigned after being confronted with the recordings.

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