The Liberal Party has somehow managed to pick another gross bloke to replace outgoing MP Andrew Laming at the next election. Talk about optics.
That man is former state candidate Henry Pike, who was actually the subject of a complaint made by a female LNP member in the days before his preselection. She pointed to a bunch of fat-shaming and misogynistic messages that Pike posted in a private Facebook group, and some of these posts have been obtained by Sky News.
“[It] states quite clearly in the Bible that fucking a fat chick is a sin beyond redemption,” Pike wrote in one of the messages.
Another read: “All I know was I walked in on a scene of absolute sexual carnage … we had [NAME WITHHELD] in bed with what could only be described as a small planet.”
In a statement to Sky News days ahead of preselection on Sunday, Pike apologised for the messages.
“Twelve years ago I was part of a private group chat that doesn’t reflect the person I’ve grown to be,” he said.
“Like lots of men, I’m embarrassed about some of the things I said when I was younger and would never say today. And like many fathers, I will teach my children that everyone deserves respect.”
Scott Morrison's office had been briefing out that he wanted a "strong female candidate" to run in Bowman after Laming left. https://t.co/pmCvq4PWNB
— Josh Butler (@JoshButler) July 4, 2021
The man Pike is set to replace, Andrew Laming, is stepping down after a spate of controversies snowballed earlier this year and made him politically untouchable.
They include an incident where Laming took a photo of a woman bending over without her consent, two women who accused Laming of bullying and harassment, and several other women who accused Laming of making unwanted advances, including one who was just 19 years old at the time.
Laming has since undergone empathy training and denies that he has acted inappropriately.
It’s also worth noting that Pike – the only male candidate for preselection to replace Laming – was chosen over four other women in the running.
Among the other contenders were Redland Mayor Karen Williams and local businesswoman Fran Ward, who was also the only person to challenge Laming last time around.
So the LNP had a range of female candidates for preselection to choose from including local Mayor Karen Williams to replace the disgraced Andrew Laming but of course they chose this bloke – send a message – vote 1 @DonishaDuff https://t.co/qqQ8d4Az1C
— Anthony Albanese (@AlboMP) July 4, 2021
With the Liberal Party and Laming himself under increased scrutiny this year over their treatment of women, surely this is a situation which could’ve been avoided.
Even Prime Minister Scott Morrison reportedly wanted “a strong female candidate” to replace Laming.
Instead, we’ve ended up another controversial man who is all but certain to win the safe LNP seat of Bowman. Great, just great.Image: Facebook / Henry Pike | Getty Images / Sam Mooy