One Nation candidate describes Islam as a country
Stephanie Banister, the One Nation candidate for Rankin in Queensland, says Islam is a country and gets her facts wrong on multiple issues in an embarrassing television interview.PT3M9S http://www.canberratimes.com.au/action/externalEmbeddedPlayer?id=d-2riq5 620 349 August 8, 2013
Is it halal, haram or Koran?
Jews aren't under haram, they have their own religion which follows Jesus Christ
Just don't ask Stephanie Banister, an anti-immigration candidate vying for the Brisbane seat of Rankin in the upcoming election.
Got her facts mixed up: Stephanie Banister. Photo: Screen grab, courtesy of Seven Network
The 27-year-old ''poster child'' of the One Nation movement did her campaign no favours in an interview with Channel Seven on Wednesday night, mistaking Islam for a country, confusing haram with Koran and drawing a blank on the nationwide disability scheme.
''I don't oppose Islam as a country, umm, but I do feel that their laws should not be welcome here in Australia,'' Ms Banister said in the one-on-one interview in her Queensland backyard.
The mother-of-two's attack on Islam began with a claim that 2 per cent of Australians ''follow haram''.
''Or the Koran, as the Islamic text is known,'' reporter Erin Edwards said.
Haram is a Muslim term used for something that is forbidden or punishable, which Ms Banister would presumably like to see applied to the Koran.
She also advocates a ban on halal food but said similar dietary guidelines for followers of Judaism, known as kosher, were permissible because ''Jews follow Jesus Christ''.
''Jews aren't under haram, they have their own religion which follows Jesus Christ,'' she said. ''They don't have a tax on [kosher], they've just got a certain way of making it where haram has a tax on the food.''
In fact, kosher food has a small fee too. And Judaism rejects Jesus Christ.
The interview turned to other big issues facing voters in the upcoming election but Ms Banister gave a blank look when asked what she thought about the NDIS, one of the Labor government's most significant policies.
''The National Disability Scheme?'' clarified Ms Edwards.
''I believe that the disability scheme is working at the moment,'' Ms Banister replied.
In fact, it starts in 2016.
On the state of the economy, she said: ''I'd like to see the government drop its five-star budget down to an economy budget. With the way the economy's going at the moment, I don't see why the government feels that it should remain at a five-star budget when economy's just as good."
Ms Banister told Fairfax Media she felt she had been misrepresented and had corrected herself many times but it had been cut from the interview.
''Unfortunately, they've completely twisted all my words and made me out to be a stand-up criminal and a stupid moron,'' she said.
She said she knew Islam was not a country and meant to say ''Islamic countries''.
When asked if she meant to say that 2 per cent of Australians followed haram, she replied: ''Yes. Up to 2.5 per cent.''
One Nation spokesman Rod Evans said Ms Banister ''knows very well'' that Islam is not a country but simply misspoke.
''You've got to remember that she is new to publicity and this kind of questioning and the way she has expressed it is not the way it should be expressed.''
Ms Banister denied that she was unprepared to fight a federal election but admitted she was ''possibly inexperienced'' and ''still learning about the politics side of life''.
Ms Banister was recently arrested and charged after she plastered stickers on Nestle products in a Brisbane shopping centre saying ''halal food funds terrorism'', Channel Seven said.
The matter is still before a court.
Political candidates are disqualified if they have been convicted or are about to be sentenced to jail.
Should she be given the go-ahead by the Australian Electoral Commission, Ms Banister will face some stiff competition in Rankin.
The seat is held by outgoing former minister and Julia Gillard loyalist Craig Emerson with a healthy margin of 10 per cent.
The excruciating interview followed a howler by Liberal candidate Jaymes Diaz, who was unable to articulate a six-point plan to ''stop the boats'' and froze during an interview with Channel 10 on Monday.