Greens candidate withdraws over massacre comment
Wednesday, 15th May, 2019
By Marnie Banger and Myles Burt
The cascade of federal election candidates being forced to stand down has hit the local electorate.
Greens’ candidate for Parkes, David Paull, yesterday pulled out of the race after it was reported that he questioned the facts of the Port Arthur massacre.
Mr Paull posted on a Facebook page in November that he believed Martin Bryant had not been responsible for the killings, The Australian reported yesterday.
“There is only one sure thing in my mind - Bryant didn’t do it and so a great crime on the Australian people was committed,” the comment read, according to the paper.
Mr Paull denied that he held that opinion, said the Greens, but stood down nonetheless, four days before election day.
“David absolutely rejects the views he is quoted as supporting, but has stood down to not become a distraction from the important issues The Greens are focused on,” a NSW Greens spokesman said.
“The Greens will take down all campaigning material in his name.”
Mr Paull admitted to The Australian that he made the post but only in an effort to investigate Port Arthur conspiracy theorists.
“I made those comments after an admin asked new members to justify their presence in the (Facebook) group.
“I absolutely do not believe, and have never believed, that Port Arthur was a conspiracy, nor do I have any doubt Martin Bryant was guilty of that horrendous crime,” he told the paper.
Greens senator for Tasmania, Nick McKim, disowned the Parkes’ candidate’s Facebook comment.
“I was appalled by those comments, they’ve got no place in our party,” Mr McKim said.
“That’s why the candidate has now stood down and I’m very pleased that he has,” he told reporters in Hobart.
The party will review its processes for checking candidates, the senator added.
“I think you could mount an argument that every single political party could improve its vetting processes.”
The BDT contacted Mr Paull but he declined to comment.
Although Mr Paull has withdrawn it is too late for him to be taken off the ballot paper.
Labor’s candidate for Parkes, Jack Ayoub, told the BDT that voters who intended to follow Labor’s how to vote card should now replace Mr Paull with independent candidate Will Landers as their second preference.