Prime Minister Scott Morrison has defended Liberal candidate for Scullin, Gurpal Singh, following renewed calls for him to stand down over past homophobic comments.
In an interview discussing the postal survey on same-sex marriage in 2017, Singh said that marriage equality was “against nature” and said it was related to “an issue of paedophilia”.
Singh last week apologised “unreservedly” for the comments, but did not stand down from candidacy voluntarily or at the behest of the Liberal Party.
Pressure has mounted on the Liberal Party to drop Singh following the resignations of Liberal candidate Peter Killin over anti-LGBTI blog comments made late last year, and pressure from Morrison on Labor to drop Melbourne candidate Luke Creasey – who withdrew from the election last week – over offensive social media posts from 2012.
Morrison was pressed on why Singh’s comments have allowed him to continue to stand after the Prime Minister last week said of Creasey’s posts that “the standard you walk by is the standard you accept”.
“That matter was dealt with by the party organisation several weeks ago,” Morrison said today in response to questions from a journalist at a doorstop.
“What did they do to deal with it Prime Minister? You said that they dealt with it, what did they do?” the reporter asked.
“His candidacy has continued,” Morrison said.
The journalist then asked if that meant Morrison believes the comments are acceptable.
“I don’t accept that,” Morrison said.
“Why did he keep the job?” the reporter asked.
“Sorry,” the Prime Minister replied, before moving on to the next question.
NSW Labor senator Kristina Keneally today slammed the PM for holding a double standard in standing by Singh’s candidacy.
“Based on his own test and failure to show any leadership, Scott Morrison accepts this standard from his candidate for Scullin,” Keneally said in a statement.
The Institute of Many’s Nic Holas also questioned why the standard being applied to other candidates did not apply to Singh.
“How is it that Luke Creasey and Jessica Whelan can both be dumped by Labor and the Liberals for their comments, but Gurpal Singh remains in the running despite linking same-sex marriage with paedophilia?” Holas said on Twitter.
So Mr Morrison, what’s the standard? #AusVotes19
— Andrew Giles MP (@andrewjgiles) May 8, 2019
Singh’s opponent in Scullin, sitting Labor member Andrew Giles, tweeted simply: “So Mr Morrison, what’s the standard?”