Moral Low Ground


Is One Nation Candidate Stephanie Banister ‘Australia’s Sarah Palin?’

August 8, 2013 by Brett Wilkins in Asia/Pacific, Mass Media with 0 Comments


After calling Islam a “country” and asserting that Jews worship Jesus Christ, a far-right Australian politician running for a parliamentary seat is being compared to Sarah Palin.

Stephanie Banister is running for the Division of Rankin (Queensland) seat in next month’s federal election. The 27-year-old Banister is a member of One Nation, an anti-immigration, nationalist party whose founder, Queenslander Pauline Hanson, enjoyed considerable electoral success in the late 1990s railing against the “Asianization” of Australia.

After a recent interview with Channel 7 News, Banister drew comparisons with former Alaska governor and 2008 Republican vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin, whose knowledge of basic geography and world affairs was called into question after a seemingly interminable string of high-profile gaffes.

Speaking about Islam, Banister said:

“I don’t oppose Islam as a country but, um, I do feel their laws should not be welcome here in Australia.”

Banister also managed to confuse the Qur’an and halal, or foods permitted under Islamic Sharia law, with haram, which means forbidden by ‘God’ under Islam, as well as which deity figure Jews worship. She asserted that 2 percent of Australians follow “haram,” and then said that:

“Jews aren’t under haram, they have their own religion which follows Jesus Christ.”

Then, another erroneous statement:

“They (Jews) don’t have a tax on [kosher], they’ve just got a certain way of making it where haram has a tax on the food.”

Actually, there is a small fee on kosher food.

Critics observed that Banister ought to know a bit more about halal food, considering that she was recently arrested and charged after she allegedly placed stickers reading ‘Halal food funds terrorism’ on Nestlé products in a Brisbane supermarket.

That’s not all. Banister was unable to name her opponents in the upcoming election, and when asked about the National Disability Scheme (NDIS), the government’s yet-to-be implemented health care program, she opined that “the disability scheme is working fine at the moment.” But the NDIS doesn’t go into effect until 2016.

The Melbourne Age reports Banister is claiming she was misrepresented by Channel 7.

“Unfortunately, they’ve completely twisted all my words and made me out to be a stand-up criminal and a stupid moron,” Banister told Fairfax Media.

Sarah Palin, by the way, also blamed the media for her colossal missteps.

One Nation spokesman Rod Evans defended Banister, assuring the Age that the candidate “knows very well” that Islam is not a country.

“You’ve got to remember that she is new to publicity and this kind of questioning and the way she has expressed it is not the way it should be expressed.”

Facing mounting concerns about her ability to hold public office, Banister acknowledged that she is “possibly inexperienced” and is “still learning about the politics side of life.”

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