Victorian Liberal party leader Matthew Guy has apologised for a homophobic letter he signed as a student activist more than 20 years ago.

The anti-gay letter, signed in 1994, has resurfaced ahead of the state election, AAP has reported.

“We view your organisation with distaste and see it as a sign of a very sick society suffering from severe moral decay,” read the letter from the La Trobe University Students’ Representatives Council, co-signed by Guy, to the Gay and Lesbian Immigration Task Force.

“It is a shame that organisations such as yours exist.”

Guy said he first apologised shortly after signing the letter because he “realised it was inappropriate”.

Deputy Premier James Merlino called the letter “disgraceful”.

“It was pretty hurtful and Matthew Guy at times talks with a forked tongue,” Merlino said.

“No doubt we all say things we regret but they were pretty considered and hurtful words in that letter, reflecting some deep seated attitudes.”

The Victorian state election is set to be held on Saturday 24 November.

Deputy Prime Minister Michael McCormack also recently had old homophobic comments resurface.

McCormack penned an opinion piece in 1993 calling gay people “sordid” and “unnatural”, and blaming them for AIDS.

His comments were condemned by LGBTI community figures and advocates.

McCormack has apologised for his past remarks and said he no longer holds such views.

Activist Rodney Croome from just.equal said many were “justifiably concerned” about McCormack becoming deputy prime minister.

“The apologies Mr McCormack made in the past are welcome but given the hatefulness of what he said, and the high office he may step into, he needs to walk the talk,” said Croome.

“He needs to get behind initiatives that will reduce the unacceptably high levels of LGBTI isolation, prejudice and suicide that still exist in some parts of rural Australia.

“He needs to heal the wounds caused by the kind of prejudices he publicly expressed in the past.”

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