An embattled Liberal election candidate is facing more questions about her social media activity after further anti-Muslim posts bearing her name emerged.
- Jessica Whelan is the Liberal candidate for the Tasmanian seat of Lyons
- Scott Morrison said the Liberal Party was referring the earlier posts to police
- He said it was possible her social media account was hacked, hence the referral to police for investigation, and refused further comment
Jessica Whelan was accused in Tasmania’s Parliament on Thursday of making several Islamophobic comments on Facebook, including a post about genital mutilation.
She denied responsibility for one of those posts on Thursday, suggesting a Facebook screenshot had been digitally manipulated.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison said the Liberal Party was referring the earlier posts to police.
Ms Whelan is vying for the Labor-held seat of Lyons, north of Hobart, which has been considered within reach for the Coalition.
But her chances have been further rocked by new screenshots which appear to be comments she made on Facebook last year spouting anti-Muslim, anti-immigrant views online.
The ABC has obtained the screenshots but is unable to verify whether Ms Whelan made the comments, which were posted on a Facebook account that appears to be deleted.
One comment in July 2017 called for a national vote on whether to ban people of the Islamic faith from entering Australia.
“I care about our safety,” it read.
“How about we have a referendum on whether or not we close our borders to Muslims? Now that I would vote for!”
The comment was made on former One Nation senator Malcolm Roberts’s Facebook page on a post relating to a republic referendum.
Far-right senator Fraser Anning echoed similar sentiments in his first speech to Parliament last year, when he said the “final solution to the immigration problem is a popular vote”.
Another post criticised Minneapolis police officer Mohamed Noor following the shooting death of Australian woman Justine Damond Ruszczyk.
“He’s a filthy Muslim!”
The Facebook comment was in response to a July 2017 news report that was posted soon after the 40-year-old’s killing.
Noor was this week found guilty of third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter.
Another Facebook comment appears in response to a news story about 200 Iraqi and Syrian refugees settling in the New South Wales town of Armidale.
“Don’t bloody send them to Tasmania. We don’t want them.”
The remark was made on a Facebook page titled “Reclaim Australia Rally”.
Reclaim Australia is a far-right, anti-Muslim group that has been involved in several violent protests over recent years.
Mr Morrison appeared with Ms Whelan on the campaign trail in Tasmania on Thursday.
He told reporters it was possible her social media account was hacked, hence the referral to police for investigation, and refused further comment.
Ms Whelan refused to answer several questions from a scrum of reporters while being ushered into a vehicle by security personnel.
Tasmanian Labor Opposition Leader Rebecca White told the state’s Parliament under privilege she was “100 per cent sure” Ms Whelan was behind inflammatory anti-Muslim posts made on Ms White’s Facebook page.
Another Victorian Liberal candidate, Jeremy Hearn, was dumped as a Liberal candidate earlier this week after posting an anti-Muslim rant online.
He was contesting the Labor-held seat of Isaacs where he was not considered a strong chance of winning the seat.