CANBERRA (Reuters) - A family values campaigner accused of taking pornographic photographs of himself has been dumped as a candidate for Australia’s November election by the Christian-values Family First Party.
Sydney music teacher Andrew Quah, 21, admitted photographs showing his penis and circulating widely on gay websites had embarrassed his party and made his candidacy untenable.
“But that’s not my penis,” Quah told the Sydney Morning Herald newspaper, adding one of the images may have been digitally altered.
“I might have been drunk off my face, or my political enemies might have drugged me,” Quah said. “It was a mistake that I would not have committed had I been of right mind. All I know, I have been humiliated.”
Family First leader and upper house Senator Steve Fielding spoke to Quah at the weekend and dumped him as the party’s candidate for a western Sydney seat because his actions contradicted the party’s strong family values platform.
“Andrew has admitted to the party that two of the photos were of himself, but he denied that a third photo was of himself,” party spokeswoman Felicity de Fombelle told Reuters.
“He denied uploading the photos, but he also admitted that he personally used pornography, so his views are at odds with the values of the party,” she said.
Quah, nicknamed “Australia’s Smallest Loser” in a parody of a popular television series after the photos came to light, had been a member of Family First for 11 months, de Fombelle said.
Family First was founded in 2002 and its first lawmaker to win election was former Assemblies of God pastor Andrew Evans, who won a place in South Australia’s state parliament.
In 2004 the party won one national Senate seat, running on a secular platform with strong religious roots.
Family First candidates did crucial voting deals with the conservative Liberal Party of Prime Minister John Howard, who is fighting poor polls ahead of the November 24 national election.
Quah said the photos were more than two years old and were taken and shared while he was drunk. He denied the genitalia in one picture was his, but said he did pose for two photos in an “inappropriate position.”
“I hope that my behavior will not reflect badly on my colleagues and friends who share the desire to make Australia the best place in the world to raise a family,” he said.
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