Australia

PM welcomes resignation of Liberal candidate Gurpal Singh over rape comments

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A Victorian Liberal candidate has been asked to resign after it emerged he said an alleged rapist was the “real victim”.

Days after defending him, Prime Minister Scott Morrison said he now welcomes the resignation of a federal Liberal candidate who said an alleged rapist was the “real victim” and also linked gay marriage to paedophilia.

The Victorian Liberal party confirmed the resignation of Liberal candidate for the Victorian seat of Scullin, Gurpal Singh, on Thursday night in the growing fallout from his controversial comments about a Punjabi woman who accused her husband of rape.

Gurpal Singh
Gurpal Singh is unavailable for media interviews between now and the election according to the Liberal Party.
SBS Punjabi

"Based on new information that has come to light, Mr Gurpal Singh has been asked to resign as the candidate for Scullin," a spokesperson for the Victorian Liberal Party said.

"Mr Singh sincerely apologises for his previous comments and has tendered his resignation."

Mr Morrison told reporters in central Queensland although he had earlier defended Mr Singh, a decision had been made by the Victorian Liberal party.

"I'm not going to get distracted by these issues. The party in Victoria was handling that matter. The candidate has resigned. I welcome his resignation."

Mr Singh, came under fire on Thursday for his Facebook comments saying he had "no sympathy" for an alleged rape victim who detailed her experiences in an SBS Punjabi article posted in May last year. 

In the May 2018 comments Mr Singh said: "It's shameful that a married woman suffering family violence can go to such extent."

"She skimmed her lover, husband and father of her two children for all these years. And now she alleges rape. Was she kept locked all these year?" 

In another comment he said: "The real victim is the husband." 

A spokesperson for the Red Heart Campaign, an organisation that tracks the number of women murdered by their partners, earlier condemned Mr Singh. 

"You're clearly accepting and you're clearly endorsing that behaviour," a spokesperson for the organisation told SBS News.

Gurpal Singh’s comment in response to SBS Punjabi’s article.
Gurpal Singh’s comment in response to SBS Punjabi’s article.
Facebook

"The Liberal Party and all parties need to make it clear that we're no longer accepting these views. They should be educating their candidates, they should be vetting them better." 

Paedophilia comments

The latest comments follow revelations he made homophobic statements as he campaigned against legalising same-sex marriage in 2017. 

The Liberal candidate went on to call the alleged rapist a 'victim'.
The Liberal candidate went on to call the alleged rapist a 'victim'.

Asked about Mr Singh's candidacy on Wednesday, the prime minister said that that matter had been handled and Mr Singh would remain the Liberal candidate. 

Making the case against changing Australia's marriage laws to SBS Punjabi in October 2017, Mr Singh raised concerns about the children of same-sex marriages. 

Gurpal Singh was active in the 'No' campaign during debate about same-sex marriage.
Gurpal Singh was active in the 'No' campaign during debate about same-sex marriage.
Liberal Party

"It has got very serious implications on the kids which we can't see now, but when these children grow up how they reconcile with that situation is beyond comprehension."

He later added: "I think it is also an issue of paedophilia - in these situations the occurrence can be high."

Mr Singh is the latest candidate to be brought down during the campaign by previous social media activity.

Mr Morrison said last week that vetting processes of candidates needed to be improved. 

"The standard you walk by is the standard you accept," Mr Morrison said as he criticised Bill Shorten for a delay in disendorsing Luke Creasey who shared a rape joke on Facebook. 

Mr Singh did not respond to SBS News' request for comment. 

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