VICTORIAN Premier Denis Napthine has called for a Liberal candidate for November’s state election to stand down, following revelations today of homophobic posts on the candidate’s social media accounts.
In a series of tweets obtained by News Corp Australia, Liberal upper house candidate for the Western Region Aaron Lane reportedly used the term “faggots”, including in one tweet that says “shirts are for faggots”.
The Premier called for Lane to step down this morning, and said the issue would be dealt with later today by the party administration.
“I believe that it’s time for Mr Lane to step down,” Napthine said.
“There is no place in my team or in the Coalition team for this sort of behaviour and these sorts of comments.”
The Victorian Gay and Lesbian Rights Lobby praised the Premier’s response, and called on all parties to keep homophobic language out of the Victorian election campaign.
“Homophobic slurs have no place in our society, let alone from a candidate for public office,” the lobby’s co-convenor Corey Irlam told the Star Observer.
“We applaud the Premier’s call for this candidate to step down and the Premier’s affirmation that there is no place for such behaviour in his team. We call upon all parties to declare homophobic language or behaviour will not form part of this year’s election campaign.”
The Liberal Party has also condemned Lane’s social media remarks, with Liberal State Director Damien Mantach calling the comments “inappropriate and offensive”.
“The party takes these matters very seriously,” he said in a statement.
Prahran state Liberal MP Clem Newton-Brown was also quick to denounce the comments, arguing Lane’s views were not representative of Liberal Party ideals and principles.
Opposition spokesperson on LGBTI issues Martin Foley disagreed, claiming Lane’s comments represented a problem with the culture of the Victorian Liberal Party.
“Today’s Liberal Party is still home to yesterday’s offensive views,” he said.
“Sacking Aaron Lane is not enough, Denis Napthine must stand up to the rest of the Liberal Party’s hate faction and sack them too.”
This incident follows the revelation last month that Victorian Attorney-General Robert Clark would be delivering a “welcome to Victoria” speech to the World Congress of Families, a group with noted homophobic views, including support for the rollout of anti-gay laws in Russia. Clark’s involvement has been widely criticised.