A member of Federal MP Bob Katter’s newly formed Australian Party has been dropped over concerns he raised about a conscience vote on same-sex marriage.
Former police officer Jason Somerville said he was dumped as a candidate after questioning the party’s Christian constitution and whether he’d be able to maintain a personal, rather that party, view on issues such as same-sex marriage, abortion and surrogacy.
“I was told that basically it’s founded on Christian values and that on votes such as same-sex [marriage] that we’d have to vote with the party, which was against it,” Somerville told Ten News.
“I was told that I wasn’t the type of person he wanted to have in the party.”
In its Core Values and Principles, the Australian Party’s view on marriage is:
Because it is in the economic and social interests of the community, laws in their enactment and application must support and uphold marriage. Marriage is the union of a man and a woman, ideally for life. It is in the best of interests of children that they are nurtured by their father and their mother and laws concerning children should be based on the best interests of children.
Somerville had been the Queensland Party’s endorsed candidate for the seat of Ferny Grove since 2010. The party had a history of allowing candidates their own view on issues such as same-sex marriage, rather than a party line.
It wasn’t until the Queensland Party merged with Katter’s Australian Party that Somerville’s candidacy was put in doubt.
His claims, along with leaked emails from other members of the former Queensland Party, have shown internal doubts regarding the merger and Katter’s leadership.
Last week the Australian Electorial Commission (AEC) rejected the registration of the Australian Party’s name, ruling that it would be too easily confused with other political parties on a ballot.