POLITICS

There's Never Been A Rougher Weekend To Be A Liberal Candidate

Brothels, abusing voters, forgetting property and busted businesses.

12/06/2016 11:09 AM AEST | Updated 15/07/2016 12:54 PM AEST
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Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull is fond of telling us that there "has never been a more exciting time to be an Australian". Following that logic, this weekend might show us that there has never been a less exciting time to be a Liberal candidate for election, after scandals piled up in recent days.

The dramas started on Saturday morning after John Min-Chiang Hsu, candidate for the Victorian seat of Calwell, quit his campaign and resigned from the Liberal party after information emerged that he owned a brothel which was not declared as part of his his business interests. Hsu told News Corp that he did not own the brothel -- which was a legal establishment -- despite the owner being listed as a person with his name, residing at his address.

"Today it has come to the attention of the Liberal Party of Australia (Victorian Division) Mr John Hsu, endorsed candidate for the Federal Division of Calwell, had not fully declared his business interests prior to applying for endorsement as required under the Party's rules," the Liberal Party said in a statement.

"Mr Hsu has resigned, with immediate effect, as an endorsed candidate of the Liberal Party and has resigned as a member of the Party."

The same day, Fairfax Media revealed Chris Jermyn -- the Liberal candidate for McEwen, also in Victoria -- had been CEO of a company which had set out to create a competition "for the world's most incredible photo" called Shutterbug Millionaire. Despite raising millions in funding and investment, the competition quietly disappeared, and its parent company announced $10 million in losses. Jermyn, you may remember, was behind what we called "the most cringeworthy moment of the election so far" after he gatecrashed a Labor Party event but when approached by journalists, could not give details of his own party's policies.

Later on Saturday, it was revealed by Fairfax that Liberal Senator James MacGrath had gotten embroiled in an argument with protesters at an event on the Sunshine Coast, asking a demonstrator "who pays for your dole?"

After the trio of bad publicity, Labor Senator Katy Gallagher remarked how it was already turning into a bad weekend for the government.

The sex tape she refers to is the scandal that Northern Territory sports minister Nathan Barrett has become embroiled in, after it emerged that he sent explicit videos to a woman.

But the bad news kept coming on Sunday, with revelations from Perth Now that Andrew Hastie, the MP for Canning, had not declared an $870,000 property on his interests register. Despite rules that oblige politicians to update their interests within 28 days of a change, Hastie bought the property in March and claimed he tried to declare it in mid-May, more than 50 days later.

"Due to an oversight, an update to my Register of Interests was not submitted on time," Hastie said, according to Perth Now.

"I did write to the Clerk of the House of Representatives to advise him of this change in May."

It has been a rough weekend for the Liberals already.

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