The Victorian state election is becoming a three-way Mexican stand-off between Labor, the Liberals and the Greens, except that everyone has their guns trained on their own feet.
Two Labor candidates have withdrawn in unclear circumstances, while the Greens have been embarrassed by old Facebook posts by upper house candidate Joanna Nilson (who then resigned), and the old/new rap lyrics of Footscray hopeful Angus McAlpine (who, amazingly, didn’t).
And now, Liberal Party candidate for the marginal Victorian seat of Yan Yean, Meralyn Klein, has apparently stepped down following the surfacing of an anti-Muslim rant that featured in a video by anti-Islam group Australian Liberty Alliance.
Turns out that this is not Klein’s first brush with the media. She was a Nillumbik Councillor between 2012 and 2016, during which she was given an official warning by the Local Government Inspectorate after, as the Diamond Valley Leader reports, she “paid $1200 to print and send a ‘transcript’ of her July ward meeting on the council’s letterhead, including her photo and contact details, to her constituents”.
Hell, it’s not even her first brush with controversy she’s encountered since taking on the candidacy for Yan Yean. As recently as June, she attracted a wave of criticism for two posts on Facebook calling on people to “wake up” to the “push by the homosexual community to force their idealoligy [sic] onto our children through the school system”.
He response was, well, unrepentant:
I won’t be stifled in my view because it’s different from other people’s. I’ve been upset and offended that people have called me a Christian zealot because I happen to believe and have faith in God. Many people might think it’s OK to say to your little boy that you’re allowed to have a different gender. You don’t have to stick to the one gender. As a Christian, I find that offensive.
That wasn’t enough to earn even a sharp rebuke from the Liberal Party, who didn’t respond to queries at the time.
Then again, maybe Klein has just always been lucky. In their report on the ALA video, the Herald Sun brought up an incident in 2000, in which Klein — who, bear in mind, has campaigned for tougher sentencing — got away with just a $150 fine after “hitting a parking attendant with her car and dragging him 15 metres outside her children’s private Christian college”.
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Here she was helped by the testimony of then-Victoria Police assistant commissioner Noel Ashby, who is also Klein’s brother-in-law, who said she was a “caring woman who demonstrated a strong Christian ethic”.
The question follows: do any of the these parties have access to a search engine?