A KATTER'S Australian Party candidate has quit and a second hopeful has been sidelined after they made controversial comments about gay rights.
Tess Corbett, who had nominated for the federal seat of Wannon in Victoria, sparked a furore following an interview with her local paper in which she said: ''Paedophiles will be next in line to be recognised in the same way as gays and lesbians and get rights.''
The Katter's Australian Party national director, Aidan McLindon, told Fairfax Media Ms Corbett had decided to pull out of the race.
Bob Katter. Photo: Rob Gunstone
A short time later, Mr McLindon confirmed the party had also suspended the membership of former national secretary Bernard Gaynor, who had been one of several Senate contenders in Queensland.
Mr Gaynor had tweeted that he did not want gay people teaching his children. In recent weeks he has also published letters denouncing abortion.
Mr McLindon said the national executive's decision to suspend Mr Gaynor's membership was made ''with regret''.
Tess Corbett. Photo: Hamilton Spectator
Deputy Prime Minister Wayne Swan said Mr Katter had previously regretted homophobic comments.
''I don't think anybody can condone those sorts of comments wherever they come from and the last time I heard Bob Katter on this subject, he said the same,'' Mr Swan said.
Australian Marriage Equality national convener Rodney Croome said if these types of comments continued from the party, then preference deals must be rejected. ''If this continues, the Coalition and Labor Party must reject the bigotry by ruling out a preference swap with the Katter Australian Party,'' he said.
Victorian political expert Paul Strangio, an associate professor of politics at Monash University, said Katter's Australian Party stood the least chance of success in Victoria.
He said that while the Senate was the best place for smaller, fringe parties to win, it was hard to project because of preference flows.
''If they stand any chance, it is on the basis of some pretty fluky preference flows in the Senate, and I would stay it is still pretty limited chances,'' Dr Strangio said.
''In Victoria these right-of-centre parties, or what you could characterise as economic nationalist, have a history of gaining little traction in Victoria, and certainly less traction here, than in Queensland or indeed New South Wales.''
He said Victoria's strongly metropolitan culture and a long history of cosmopolitanism and multiculturalism contributed to the smaller interest. With AAP