SUSSAN Ley says her placement of the Rise Up Australia Party ahead of Labor and the Greens on how-to-vote lists should not be seen as approval for the minor party which advocates the banning of the burqa and opposes multiculturalism.
The Liberal member for Farrer’s preference move follows her leader Tony Abbott indicating that in electorates where “racist parties”, such as Rise Up Australia, were fielding candidates they should be put last behind the Greens.
Ms Ley has put Katter’s Australian Party candidate Ken Trewin second, Labor hopeful Gavin Hickey eight of nine and Greens contender Chris Sobey last.
She said placing Rise Up Australia nominee Narelle Davis seventh should not be misinterpreted as a sign of acceptance.
“To suggest I would think they’re OK is just not the case because a lot of the comments they have made have been against Muslims and as people would know from my record in Parliament I have been a friend of Muslims,” Ms Ley said.
She said Rise Up Australia Party leader Danny Nalliah, who linked the Black Saturday bushfires to abortion laws, had made “appalling racist statements”.
However, Ms Ley said the Greens and Labor represented a greater threat to the governance of Australia and Green preferences had “damaged us in rural Australia”.
She said she had placed Mr Trewin second not because she agreed with much of the platform of the Katter party but because she thought he was a “good person” and it was important to recognise the irrigated agricultural interests he represented.