James Ashby Steve Dickson One Nation NRA al jazeera
One Nation party officials Steve Dickson and James Ashby (Image: AAP/Dave Hunt)

It has been an unprecedented time as far as federal election candidacy resignations go. Thirteen candidates have either resigned, been disendorsed, or pulled out of their own accord since the campaign began. Their indiscretions vary and include an anti-Muslim rant, homophobic comments, dual-citizenship snags, being too friendly with an opponent, and criticising Israel for its treatment of Palestinians. They’re dropping like flies, and more may come.

But what happens now? Do their names remain on the voting ballot? Or are their names simply crossed out with a biro? Can they still be elected?

The short answer? It’s business as usual. Their names remain on the ballot and they can still be elected. Preferences are distributed as usual, according to the Australian Electoral Commission.

In fact, that’s how Pauline Hanson won her seat in parliament in 1996. She was disendorsed by the Liberal Party but went on to win the Queensland seat of Oxley, before later creating One Nation. And here we are today.

So, who’s been cancelled this time around?

Jeremy Hearn — Liberal

Jeremy Hearn in the Victorian seat of Isaacs in south-east Melbourne has been dumped by his party for a conspiratorial anti-Muslim rant that recently surfaced online.

In the online comments section of the conservative Quadrant magazine, Hearn wrote that Muslims are “clearly people of bad character” who believe in the “killing or enslavement of the citizens of Australia if they do not become Muslim”.

“No oath of allegiance from a person following such an ideology can or should be accepted by the Australian government under the current law.”

The seat of Isaacs is currently held by Labor shadow attorney-general Mark Dreyfus by a narrow 3% margin.

Peter Killin — Liberal

Victorian Liberal candidate, who was running for the seat of Wills, has been disendorsed for homophobic comments he made about a colleague online.

Killin referred to Goldstein MP Tim Wilson as a “notorious homosexual” and said he wished more of his colleagues turned up during Wilson’s pre-selection to keep him out of the race.

His comments were posted on a blog run by far-right Christian fundamentalist Bill Muehlenberg.

Killin also railed against abortion, euthanasia and “gender ideologies”.

Steve Dickson — One Nation

Steve Dickson, who was running for a Queensland Senate seat, resigned after footage emerged of him at a Washington DC strip club groping a dancer and making derogatory remarks.

The strip club footage was captured by undercover Al Jazeera reporter Rodger Muller for a separate investigation, which found One Nation members lobbying US National Rifle Association (NRA) for support and funding.

In the video, Dickson is seen groping the breast of one sex worker. He also commented: “I’ve done more Asian than I know what to do with,” adding he preferred strip clubs in the Philippines because women “take everything off”.

Melissa Parke — Labor

Labor’s candidate for Curtin in Western Australia, Melissa Parke, has pulled out of the election race because she did not want to be a “distraction” following her comments that drew parallels between Israel’s treatment of Palestinians and apartheid in South Africa.

In a recent public meeting she said Israel’s treatment of Palestinians was “worse than the South African system of apartheid”, which drew the ire of pro-Israel groups in Australia.

The seat of Curtin is held by Liberal Julie Bishop. Parke was formerly the federal member for Fremantle but resigned in 2016.

Parke said her views were “well known”.

“I’ve had 20 years’ experience in international relations and law including living and working in the Middle East.

“But I don’t want them to be a running distraction from electing a Labor government which will take urgent and strong action on climate change.”

Vaishali Ghosh — Liberal

The eligibility of candidates under section 44 of the constitution — which does not allow dual citizens to be members of parliament — have scuppered the chances of several candidates. Vaishali Ghosh, the Liberal candidate for the Victorian seat of Wills, stepped down because of her Indian heritage and citizenship.

Helen Jackson — Liberal

Helen Jackson, a candidate in the Victorian seat of Cooper, has been disendorsed by the Liberal Party because of a section 44 clash. Jackson is an Australia Post employee, which makes her a public servant. Section 44 prevents anyone who “holds an office of profit under the Crown” from standing as a candidate for federal parliament. But Jackson refused to step down as a candidate. The party has dumped her.

Kate Oski — Liberal

Kate Oski, candidate in the seat of Lalor in Victoria, has resigned over the possibility that she has, or may be able to claim, Polish citizenship.

Wayne Kurnoth — Labor

A Northern Territory candidate has been dumped by the Labor Party after it emerged that he shared a post by David Icke, an anti-Semitic conspiracy theorist who believes the world is under the control of reptiles masking themselves as Jews. The post, shared in 2015, was a conspiracy about the Rothschild banking family.

Murray Angus — Liberal

Murry Angus was dumped from the Victorian seat of Corio for being too friendly and supportive of his Labor opponent. Before his party moved to ditch him, Angus told the Geelong Advertiser that his Labor opponent Richard Marles was a “good bloke” and that he “can’t really criticise him”. Alastair Thomson has taken his place instead.

Courtney Nguyen — Liberal

Courtney Nguyen, a candidate in the NSW seat of Fowler, has stepped aside over dual citizenship issues under section 44. She is of Vietnamese heritage.

Sam Kayal — Liberal

Sam Kayal, a former Labor committee member running as a Liberal in the seat of Werriwa in NSW, has resigned over section 44 citizenship issues. Kayal renounced his Lebanese citizenship last year, but official documentation from Lebanon has yet to be received, forcing him to step down. 

Mary Ross — Labor

Mary Ross, a general practitioner born in Britain, has bowed out of running for the NSW Senate. The reasons are unconfirmed but questions have been raised about potential breaches of section 44. The Wagga Wagga GP runs a clinic that receives government subsidies. Her British roots could have been a possible reason, too.

James Harker-Mortlock — Nationals

James Harker-Mortlock had his candidacy voided in the seat of Whitlam in NSW because of dual citizenship concerns. Harker-Mortlock was unable to provide proof that he had renounced his UK citizenship before nominations closed.

Peter Fray

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