As the Labor Party considers whether to disendorse its candidate in the safe Liberal seat of Fairfax, Ivan Molloy, it is worth looking back through time at the history of controversial candidates who major parties have had to disendorse. This list will include elected MPs who have been disowned by their party whilst in the Parliament. Here are the names we’ve gathered so far and please send your submissions to boss @crikey.com.au:
Paul Afkos: The WA Liberal Party and the Prime Minister were acutely embarrassed last year by the preselection and subsequent resignation of Paul Afkos for the Federal seat of Stirling after his connections to a notorious drug dealer were pointed out.
Franca Arena: dumped by Labor in NSW for her stupid paedophilia claims.
Greg Barns: was disendorsed from the Tasmanian state seat of Denison in February 2002 for continuing public attacks on the asylum seeker and refugee policies of the Howard government.
Cimlie Bowden: was recently dumped from the VERY marginal seat of Canning just weeks before the election and replaced with the elderly former State Minister, Kay Hallahan – with the full backing and funding of several key unions.
Sam Benson: the right wing MHR for Batman who fell foul of Bill Hartley’s Victorian Central Executive of the ALP in 1966. Benson refused to resign from a conservative think tank, the Defend Australia Committee, when it was proscribed by the ALP, and as a consequence he was expelled from the party. A few months later Benson won his seat as an Independent. The Victorian Central Executive took no notice of local party opinion and endorsed an unpopular local Mayor whom Arthur Calwell thought would make a good candidate. Calwell was ignorant of local geography. Heidelberg, from where the Mayor came, formed only part of the Batman electorate, and its Council had a history of questionable conduct. An Italian sea captain popular in much of the electorate would probably have defeated Benson. Interestingly Benson’s campaign manager was Ray Evans, the founder of the HR Nicholls Society and a heavy in Western Mining.
Graeme Campbell: the former member for Kalgoorlie was dumped by Paul Keating from the ALP in 1996 when he slagged off multiculturalism one too many times.
Noel Crichton-Browne: As a sitting senator he was preselected in mid 1995 for the Senate for the 1996 campaign, then various allegations arose regarding relations with his wife, journalists and travel arrangements and he was eventually disendorsed, expelled from the party and sat as an independent for the remainder of his term. The party then pre-selected Alan Eggelston for the number three Liberal Senate spot which he won.
Demitri Dollis: was disendorsed in 1999 just before the state election in favour of Dick Wynne, ex Melbourne Lord Mayor and a Bracks favourite. Dollis spent too much time away from his state electorate of Richmond in Victoria seeking a better paid job in Greece.
Teyfin Erin: Turkish branch stacker whose marital problems became front page news and Steve Bracks felt he was too embarrassing to have any longer in the Legislative Council. Erin was succeeded by Marsha Thomson, right wing faction heavy and wife of federal MHR Kelvin Thomson. Interestingly the disendorsements of both Dollis and Eren has cross factional support and were a way both major factions could place into parliament factional heavies without the normal preselection process as provided for in the rules. Local opinion was thus overridden. The factional organisations and not the local members determined the preselected candidates, Wynne and Thomson, in both cases.
Terry Griffiths: Liberal from Georges River, NSW for pursuing unwanted relationship with female staff.
Pauline Hanson: disendorsed by the Liberals during the 1996 campaign for making embarrassing comments about Aboriginals. Went on to win the seat and then make THAT maiden speech. Pauline may have been disendorsed, but she still appeared on the ballot paper as Liberal.
Carolyn Hirsh: thrown out of the Victorian Labor Party in 2004 for first losing her licence for drink driving and then being pulled over for driving an unregistered car without a licence.
David Oldfield: was a Liberal shoe-in for the state seat of Manly. Then he met Pauline…
Grant Tambling: The Liberal Northern Territory leader was disendorsed before the 2001 election in theory because he wasn’t supporting the Territory on online gaming laws, but more because of a fallout with Denis Burke the then Chief Minister. Tambling took it to court and failed and Howard gave him a gig running Norfolk Island.
Dan Van Blarcom: The Nationals candidate for Whitsunday was disendorsed ahead of the 2003 election after The Courier Mail ran photographs of him wearing a Nazi armband and reported he was a former President of the Nazi Party in Queensland.
Miscellaneous: National Party candidate for by-election Victorian upper house seat of central highlands in 1987. This was during the big “Joh for Canberra” push and so the nats were the focus of some media attention. At a press conf introducing the nat candidate, he declared that he considered himself a socialist. The look on the face of the nats leader Peter Ross-Edwards said it all, and the poor bugger was quietly replaced the next day.