THE Liberal candidate who was at the centre of a series of comments labelling Islam a ‘‘foul religion’’ has quit the party.
Liberal Party campaign adviser Andrew Cox yesterday confirmed that Oakleigh ward candidate Matthew Hammon had resigned from the party after furore over comments he made about Muslims on social media website Twitter.
Mr Cox released a statement yesterday evening, distancing the Liberal Party from Mr Hammon and his controversial comments.
‘‘The Liberal Party does not support the offensive comments made by Mr Hammon on Twitter,’’ he said.
‘‘The party has accepted Mr Hammon’s resignation as a member of the Liberal Party.’’
It’s unclear whether Mr Hammon has pulled out of the election.
Mr Hammon’s resignation comes after incumbent Glen Waverley ward councillor Geoff Lake launched a stunning attack on him at Tuesday’s council meeting.
During a motion for the council to enter into an agreement with the Australian Human Rights Commission to support its anti-racism campaign,Cr Lake slammed Hammon for comments he made about Muslims on Twitter accusing him of being a ‘‘religious bigot’’.
On September 18, shortly after riots in Sydney broke out over an anti-Islam film, Mr Hammon sent tweets saying: ‘‘It seems supporters of Islamic Terrorists [sic] have had a field day in Sydney today with their protests.
He adds: ‘‘I don’t care if Muslims want to show their placards, that is fine but it just goes to show what a foul religion they represent.
‘‘These are muslims [sic] preaching dangerous messages, those are the facts.’’
The Weekly contacted Mr Hammon for comment but within 30 minutes of agreeing to an interview, he later reneged and passed on the details of Mr Cox. Shortly afterwards, Mr Cox confirmed the Oakleigh candidate’s resignation.
Cr Lake condemned the comments as ‘‘antisocial and unfair beliefs’’.
‘‘These comments are those of a religious bigot,’’ he said.
‘‘All religions deserve our respect.
‘‘This person is not fit for public office.’’
He also called on other councillors and candidates to preference Mr Hammon last on the ballot paper like the Victoria Liberal party did to One Nation in 2001.
‘‘For all of the things One Nation have said, I don’t think they’ve made the derogatory comments Matthew Hammon has made.’’
Cr Lake also accused Mr Hammon of being a dummy candidate used to feed preferences to Theo Zographos, another Liberal Party member and Oakleigh ward candidate .
Cr Lake called for Mr Zographos not to accept the preferences.
‘‘This council and this community stands strongly against racism.’’
The Weekly has contacted Mr Zographos who is yet to return calls.
Mr Hammon has since deleted the offensive tweets from his Twitter page.
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