Facebook fools

An embarrassing number of candidates preparing for this month’s Federal election have been sensationally dropped by their parties after their online histories displayed an ugly array of sexist, racist, homophobic and just plain crazy posts.
This shows two things.
Firstly, the background checking of candidates by political parties remains appalling – despite earnest promises to the contrary after the Section 44 scandal which showed background checking over eligibility criteria was not being done effectively, an oversight which cost taxpayers millions in by-election costs.
It also shows these recently exposed candidates to be either politically unaware, deeply unprofessional or completely self absorbed. Perhaps some are all three.
Either way it beggars belief how they emerged as the best person to be pre-selected by major parties and shows the selection of candidates is of an amateur standard.
The real world is miles ahead.
Last year’s hand wringing apologies from the major parties to improve their internal processes has not translated into action and the fact that five additional pre-selected candidiates have also been late withdrawals due to citizenship uncertainty gives a bad name to amateurs.
For a candidate to suggest, as Labor’s Wayne Kurnoth did, that the world is being run by a secret ­society of shape shifting lizards and not consider that it would come back to haunt him is bizarre.
Victorian Liberal candidate Jeremy Hearn once argued that Muslims should be prevented from getting Australian citizenship.
Labor’s Luke Creasey shared pornography and a joke about rape while the Liberal’s Jessica Whelan reportedly advocated for the genital mutilation of Muslim women and selling them as slaves.
The nature of some of their posts, likes or shares makes it obvious these people are not fit for office.
The reality is that social media can be dangerous – especially to impressionable and impulsive young people who had probably not even considered a career in politics when some of the posts were made.
The hard lesson to learn is that what is written online can almost never be erased and shows the often wayward journey from immature youth to responsible adult.

For the full report, see the print issue of The Courier.

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