Liberal National Party Of Australia State’s Branch Chair Quits Over Candidate
BRISBANE, Australia — The preselection of a man accused of fat-shaming to succeed Andrew Laming as the Nationals candidate for the Brisbane seat of Bowman has led the chair of the local branch to resign.
Henry Pike was the sole male contender in the five-way ballot on July 4 and had the backing of federal Assistant Minister for Women Amanda Stoker. Amanda Jane Stoker is an Australian politician who became a Senator for Queensland in 2018.
His victory prompted the resignation of branch chair Craig Luxton in the hours after the vote.
A spokesperson from the Liberal National Party said that no date has been set for Bowman branch members to choose a new chair.
Labor leader Anthony Albanese reacted to Pike’s preselection on Facebook on July 5.
“This is the modern Liberal National Party in Queensland — they choose the only male candidate in the race to replace Andrew Laming,” he said.
“And this man has a history of fat-shaming women.”
Pike recently told Sky News he was a changed person after messages in a group chat from more than a decade ago were published following a complaint by a female Liberal National Party member.
“(It) states quite clearly in the Bible that f****** a fat chick is a sin beyond redemption,” he wrote in a message as it has been reported on July 2.
“Twelve years ago I was part of a private group chat that doesn’t reflect the person I’ve grown to be. Like lots of men, I’m embarrassed about some of the things I said when I was younger and would never say today,” said Pike in a subsequent statement.
Earlier this year Laming said he would not recontest his seat after taking a month of paid medical leave to seek empathy training ordered by Prime Minister Scott Morrison. Morrison ordered his member of parliament to apologize and characterized his online behavior as “disgraceful”.
Laming had been accused of harassing two women from his electorate over several years but said he was a victim of character assassinations and his conduct towards women had been misrepresented.
He was also accused of taking an unsolicited photograph of a woman bending over at work while her underwear was exposed. Laming said the police found no evidence of a criminal offense and that the photo was innocent and meant to show a woman working hard on the job.
He later revealed he’d been diagnosed with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder and attributed some of his behavior to that.
(Edited by Vaibhav Pawar and Ritaban Misra)