The Canberra Liberals have dumped their newest candidate after the ABC reported that he described Indigenous Welcome to Country ceremonies as “animistic practices … to be condemned” and ACT Policing as a force influenced by a homosexual agenda.
- Peter McKay was announced as a Canberra Liberals candidate for the inner-city electorate of Kurrajong on Sunday
- In 2018, Mr McKay wrote the “homosexual Chief Minister” and “strong lesbian” influences with ACT Policing had led to “religious terrorism” being dismissed
- The Canberra Liberals announced on Tuesday afternoon they were accepting Mr McKay’s resignation
On Sunday, Peter McKay was announced as the latest Liberal Party candidate for the inner-city seat of Kurrajong in the upcoming ACT election.
In his announcement, ACT Liberal leader Alistair Coe said he was “pleased to have such a passionate advocate on our Kurrajong Liberal team”.
But a 2018 submission by Mr McKay to a federal inquiry into religious freedoms, known as the “Ruddock review”, made several comments the Canberra Liberals today said were out of step with the party.
In his submission, Mr McKay wrote that Canberra had in recent years “been subjected to religious terrorism”, noting a 2016 incident where a van exploded outside the Australian Christian Lobby (ACL) headquarters in Canberra.
“The man that used six gas bottles to bomb a secluded Christian organisation in Canberra had worked as an advocate in the USA yet within 24 hours of the attack the ACT Police influenced by the homosexual Chief Minister and the strong lesbian influence in the ACT Police (yes, I could provide some names) dismissed the attack on religious thought by describing the cause as a mental health issue,” Mr McKay wrote.
“This was ‘false news’ and diminishes trust in our authorities.”
An AFP investigation determined the man was most likely trying to take his own life, and that the act was not religiously motivated.
Mr McKay also said that debate had been supressed on “the consequences of accepting or rejecting homosexuality regarding demographic effect, economic growth, health, increased government support for old age support, the emotional health of children, [and] premature transgender cutting”.
“What are the ramifications of this poor governance? We don’t know the issues because the debate was closed down.”
Former candidate ‘condemned’ use of Welcome to Country ceremonies
Following from his concern around debate, Mr McKay wrote that Indigenous customs were an imposition on the religious freedoms of public servants, who were obligated to “ensure and apply this religious ceremony publicly onto unsuspecting members of the public”.
“The last one I attended included the acknowledgement and worship of Aboriginal ancestors. This is similar to a number of animistic religions around the world. These religions did not result in the benefits of development that emanates from western civilisation,” he wrote.
Mr McKay declined an invitation from the ABC to be interviewed about the submissions, saying he was focused on the future and what he could bring to the Kurrajong electorate.
The Canberra Liberals did not initially respond to questions from the ABC, but confirmed on Tuesday afternoon that Mr McKay had resigned.
“My vision of ensuring Canberra is the best place to live, work and raise a family, includes ensuring Canberra is inclusive of all people, regardless of their culture, ethnicity, faith, gender or sexuality,” Canberra Liberals leader Alistair Coe said.
“This prompt and decisive action underscores the seriousness in which I have taken this matter.”
Mr Coe said there were “obviously some issues with the vetting process”.
“There’s been a breakdown in the system, that’s very obvious,” he said.
“I wasn’t aware of these comments. It’s not good enough. It’s disrespectful, it’s not up to community standards, it’s not up to my standards.
“We’ll do better in the future.”
Mr Coe put issues in the vetting system down to Mr McKay’s late endorsement as opposed to the other candidates who were preselected last year.
He said there would be a review into what went wrong.
Liberals endorsed Mr McKay as ‘high calibre’ candidate
The party announced on Sunday that Mr McKay had been endorsed as their replacement candidate for the seat of Kurrajong for October’s territory election.
The former Army officer and senior public servant replaced Vijay Dubey after he stood down due to a disagreement with the Liberal Party.
In a press release announcing Mr McKay’s endorsement, Canberra Liberals campaign director Josh Manuatu said the party was “fortunate to have a candidate of such high calibre in Peter to join our exemplary Kurrajong Liberal Team”.
The statement also quoted Mr Coe saying Mr McKay brings “a real-life understanding of so many long-term Canberrans who want to make sure that Canberra can be the best place to retire”.
Comments about ACT police ‘harmful and insensitive’
In a statement the Australian Federal Police Association (AFPA) noted the “disappointing” comments made by Mr McKay regarding ACT Policing.
“Comments made by Mr McKay are not supported by the AFPA and are harmful and insensitive towards the LGBTI and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community which the AFPA supports,” a spokesman said in a statement.
“His comments regarding the ACL investigation are incorrect. The AFPA supports the members involved in the investigation, ACT Policing and the AFP after a comprehensive investigation was undertaken. The AFP and ACT Policing are on public record regarding the investigation and the intentions of the person involved in the incident.
The spokesman said the AFPA had a good relationship with the Canberra Liberals, which would continue.
“We welcome the positive leadership taken by Mr Coe and the Canberra Liberals in seeking and obtaining Mr McKay’s resignation as a candidate in the upcoming ACT election,” he said.
Prior to the Canberra Liberals announcing Mr McKay’s resignation, ACT Chief Minister Andrew Barr said Mr McKay’s views were now “mainstream opinion” within the Liberal party.
“This is a candidate who has run before for the Liberal party at the last election … so those values are the values of the Canberra Liberals, that’s loud and clear,” Mr Barr said.
“He’s not the only candidate who holds views like that. What was once a liberal party is now an ultra-conservative party.”
Mr McKay also made submissions into Prostitution Act review
Mr McKay’s submission to the Ruddock review was not his first contribution to a government inquiry.
In 2011, Mr McKay also wrote to the ACT inquiry reviewing the 1992 Prostitution Act.
In it, he warned that Canberra’s sex industry was a “drain on the ACT housing budget” as a breakdown in relationships due to men engaging with sex workers caused separated couples increased financial hardship, and forced couples originally living under the same roof to move into two homes.
“The social consequences of the sex industry on society’s health and housing budget can be measured,” Mr McKay wrote.
He also called for sex work advertisements to be banned.
“Smoking is a health hazard. Casual sex is also a health hazard for committed relationships so if the government is unable to promote the benefits of long term commitments in relationships (for the betterment of their budget) it should at least restrict the promotion of casual sex.”