Maverick Australian independent MP Bob Katter has nominated a pro-marriage equality candidate in a surprise move just weeks after having to dump two candidates for his new Katter’s Australia Party after they made extreme homophobic statements.
Katter is personally opposed to same-sex marriage and has called LGBT rights a non-issue in Australia compared to the needs of farmers and people in rural areas but still nominated 29 year old theater director Steven Bailey to run for the Australian Senate in the Australian Capital Territory.
The Katter’s Australia Party’s platform states, ‘Because it is in the economic and social interests of the community, laws in their enactment and application must support and uphold marriage.’
‘Marriage is the union of a man and a woman, ideally for life. It is in the best interests of children that they are nurtured by their father and their mother and laws concerning children should be based on the best interests of children.’
However Bailey told 2CC radio that he would work to change the party’s policy from the inside if elected.
‘There are battles to be fought everywhere in life,’ Bailey said.
‘Personally I haven't heard an argument as to why we should stand in the way of something that may be inevitable. But our party is diverse and strong and robust enough for it to have people like me to argue that case.’
Katter told the station that he welcomed candidates with diverse viewpoints.
‘Particularly young people - I always find talking to young people very exciting and Steven would be a very good example of that kind of person,’ Katter said.
However this brought the ire of recently dumped candidate Bernard Gaynor who had labeled homosexuals as immoral people who were unfit to teach his children.
Gaynor posted a statement online in which he accused his former party leader of ‘capitulation’ on same-sex marriage by allowing such a candidate.
‘What Bob doesn’t appreciate is that the members signed up to his party because he stood for something,’ Gaynor wrote.
‘That was economic and social family values – including his party’s firm stance that marriage was between a man and a woman.’
‘His decision violates the core values of the party he founded and has already begun causing huge ructions.’
Gaynor wrote that he personally knew of multiple party members who had resigned as a result of Bailey’s being chosen as a candidate.
‘[This] will cause bloodshed at every branch,’ he wrote.
Another Katter’s Australia Party candidate, Tess Corbett, resigned last month after saying that, ‘paedophiles will be next in line to be recognized in the same way as gays and lesbians and get rights.’
Katter has in the past claimed that there were no gays or lesbians in his electorate of nearly 90,000 people, while the party used attack ads to target the now Premier of Queensland, Campbell Newman, over his personal support for marriage equality during the Queensland state election.