Today Andrew Quah, the disendorsed Family First candidate for Reid, no longer exists. At least according to the Family First website. Type his name into the search engine and you’ll get nothing, not even a media release explaining how it happened, and how the party will ensure it doesn’t happen again.
Since those flasher photos hit the front page, they’ve been busy re-writing history. Not that Google’s received the missive. Its cached pages clearly show that until the scandal broke, Quah was not just a FF candidate, he was authorising content.
In fact we were berated by a tipster for not going far enough yesterday:
While Crikey notes the process of becoming a candidate for Family First has a few flaws in it… you have missed the point that not only was Andrew Quah a candidate – he was also a member of the party’s executive in NSW. It’s one thing for a party to make a mistake in appointing a candidate for a lower house seat when they’re struggling to fill them … and quite another thing for someone in the inner circle to be manifestly at odds with the party’s stated policy.
Today we spoke with Andrew Markwell, Family First’s lead candidate in NSW. He told Crikey that this was an over-statement of the fact.
Yes, strictly speaking there is a NSW FF executive, says Markwell. (Indeed Google’s cached page shows Quah listed on it.) But in NSW where there are “very few resources” this shouldn’t be played up. “He was a regular at meetings.” A Family First executive in NSW is not the same as you’d find in the Liberal Party of the ALP, he explains.
As for the party having Quah authorising their pages, “he was a very capable IT person”, says Markwell. In NSW, “we struggle” for people. “It’s not like it is in Victoria.”
Quah also describes himself online as Acting President of Youth First – the NSW Family First Youth – listing a website, www.youthfirst.org.au. Today, attempts to go to the site return the message “this account has been suspended”. The URL redirects to quahbonsai.com, Andrew Quah’s family business. Youth First is not an official Family First organisation, says Markwell. It would seem that Quah was behind it.
Markwell also notes that Quah was never officially presented to the AEC as a candidate, though that was the intention. Family First only lodged its candidates yesterday.
Family First will be tightening its candidate procedures. In the meantime, they’re looking for a monk who’s an IT whiz.