Abbott defends candidate critical of Jews, gays, women


ABC News | 10/08/2010 | 6:20 am IST

Opposition Leader Tony Abbott has defended a Liberal National Party (LNP) candidate who once published a university newspaper containing material critical of Jews, gays and women. Mackay City Councillor George Christensen only needs a swing of 2.6 per cent to win the marginal Labor-held seat of Dawson. But today questionable material published by Cr Christensen in his university days in the 1990s has emerged. In the publication, called The Student Advocate and published by the Conservative Students Alliance in 1998, Cr Christensen reportedly made jokes about AIDS, linked Jews to the crucifixion of Christ and described women as “stupid”.

Questioned about the revelations this morning, Mr Abbott said there was “colourful material” from most people’s university days. “There’s colourful stuff from my uni days. There’s colourful stuff from Julia Gillard’s uni days,” he said. “If there’s colourful stuff from George Christensen’s uni days, I think we just have to accept that uni is a colourful place and move on. “He’s a good bloke and I stand by him,” Mr Abbott added.

Cr Christensen has released a statement apologising for the publications, saying the comments were not meant to be taken seriously. “Some of the content I provided for those publications was intended to shock readers or to use humour in a shocking way rather than to provide legitimate commentary,” the statement said. “In the process, I published and circulated what were clearly stupid statements, which I regret. “To those offended by those statements, I apologise without any reservation.” 
The director of the Queensland Centre for Domestic and Family Violence Research, Heather Nancarrow, says Cr Christensen’s views are a concern. “It’s very disturbing to think somebody with those kinds of views could be elected to parliament, to represent any electorate,” she said. “Being from Mackay, I’m very disturbed to think he may be our representative in the federal parliament espousing those kinds of views.” Ms Nancarrow says she needs to hear Cr Christensen’s current views. “For example, what are his views in relation to violence against women and what is the LNP planning to do about violence against women?” she said. “We haven’t really heard anything from the LNP on that. “These kinds of views that George has expressed, just a little over 10 years ago, are certainly views that contribute to high levels of violence against women in our country. “So I really think he ought to be challenged and challenged very soon.”

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My comment: It seems Abbott is not comfortable with Christensen’s regrets. It’s pathetic. While there are growing number of racial attacks in Australia particularly on Indians, the politicians like Tony Abbott, who simply played down such serious comments as ‘colourful stuff’ on half of the world population and others, do certainly pose a threat to the existence of minimum standards of humanity, and human rights. –nvs

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