A mammoth eight weeks is a long election campaign, and plenty of candidates have had missteps, stuff-ups and downright confusing responses to straight-forward questions. We’ve delved into the best of the worst.
Likes pizza and living in empty fields. The Coalition’s candidate for the ultra marginal seat of McEwen in Victoria surely takes out the Jaymes Diaz prize for most disastrous election snafu. Firstly he ran away from the media when he turned up to a Bill Shorten event, after the pesky media asked him about policies, then there were rude questions about his start-up that vanished, and then there was the incident of allegations he was living in a house in the electorate that didn’t actually exist. This was accompanied by the news that the long-time Liberal member had a, uh, passion for late night fast-food delivery.
Oops, that negatively geared house? After not declaring his $2.3 million negatively geared investment property in his electorate (where he does not live), Feeney has been hiding from the media since his May 25 disastrous interview on Sky News, during which he couldn’t remember whether or not the Schoolkids Bonus would stay under a Labor government. To make things worse, he left his briefing notes in the interview and found them splashed in The Daily Telegraph the next day. We tried to find him out in his electorate, we really did.
Labor and Liberal Fremantle candidates
Forgetfulness all round. Labor’s initial choice for Fremantle, the unfortunately named Chris Brown, failed to reveal an assault conviction from 1980, so he was disendorsed, but then the Liberals lost their candidate, Sherry Sufi, because of sexist comments he made about a former boss, as well as his claims same-sex marriage would lead to polygamy. Labor is now running Fremantle deputy mayor Josh Wilson in the seat, and the Coalition is running former Chris Back staffer Pierrette Kelly.
Richard Di Natale
How much are they paid? The Greens leader has slammed the government’s new work placement program Path, but much was made over the three live-in au pairs who look after his children, amid claims they were paid well below wage. Di Natale promised to release employment documents showing how much they were paid, and released some documents about recommended payments for au pairs to journalists who requested it. The ABC has published these documents.
What, this old thing? Liberal candidate for the safe Labor seat of Calwell was forced to quit earlier this month because he neglected to inform the party he owns a brothel in Melbourne’s south east. He’s not running as a Liberal anymore, but as we have reported, he is now apparently running as an independent.
High-fives self, in face. Despite it being a safe Labor seat, Tim Watts has been hard at work campaigning in his electorate, as evidenced by his Instagram. Still, his chances probably got a bit safer after a Facebook post surfaced by his Liberal opponent advocating for violence against people call Australia Day “Invasion Day“.
Awkward silence. First-term Liberal MP for the marginal seat of Macquarie in Sydney’s west was asked on 7.30 to list what she had achieved for the area. It was followed by a long silence. Later the journalist clarified that Markus said her big achievement had been helping a patient get money from a superannuation fund to buy a car.
Delete your account. A round of applause for the long-time campaigner against gay rights and serial election candidate Family First’s Peter Madden for picking the day after the Orlando massacre to make a point to argue against same-sex marriage on Twitter. He apologised, but faced with going up against two gay men in a debate later in the week on the matter, Madden pulled out (pun intended).
Timing is everything. Katter’s election video showing him shoot two people representing the Coalition and Labor was poorly timed for release just after the Orlando shooting, but in true BobKat style, Katter said he wasn’t aware of Orlando because he doesn’t watch the news and goes to bed at midnight. He also stormed out of an ABC interview when the interviewer asked Katter about the gay Liberal candidate running against him, despite Katter’s previous claims that there were no gay people in his electorate.
Friends in high places. Labor’s candidate for Health Minister Sussan Ley’s seat of Farrer resigned after he was linked to Hizb ut-Tahrir spokesperson Uthman Badar, and was said to have compared same-sex marriage to incest in a speech.
The magnificent candidate in his flying machine. The Liberal Democrats’ Senate candidate for South Australia had his candidacy referred to the Australian Federal Police by the Australian Electoral Commission after documents were leaked revealed allegations he paid up to $500,000 to the party and just so happened to also get the top spot on the SA ticket for the party. Oh, and he could be facing jail time for flying without a licence.
Policy via SMS. Just as the Liberals’ deputy leader Julie Bishop was caught out not knowing her party’s policy on superannuation, Hanson-Young had to get an adviser to text her the Greens super policy in the middle of a radio interview.
Vote for me or the hospital gets it. It seems like a lifetime ago already and was technically before the election was called, but one of the first major stuff-ups came from the former member for Indi, who is currently trying to win back her seat. She told an audience in April that, oops, sorry, she forgot to tell everyone that if she was elected last time she would have been given $10 million for the Wangaratta Hospital, but because she lost her seat, her party didn’t hand it over.
Labor candidates off message
The Coalition now estimates there are 50 candidates in the Labor Party who have spoken out against party policy on border protection, mainly on Facebook posts. The party is so agile and innovative in pushing scare about immigration they’ve even created a Tumblr for it. How dare those Labor members display some humanity?
UPDATE: This article originally said Di Natale had not released au pair documents, it has been corrected.