PREMIER Daniel Andrews and his deputy Jacinta Allan have become mired in an election-week war of words with the Liberals about whether extremist candidates should be labelled “Nazis”.
Allan said at the weekend that the Liberals are “preferencing Nazis” on how-to-vote cards. The Premier added in a tweet, “Nazis, racists and bigots have no place in politics.”
And Macnamara federal MP Josh Burns tweeted, “Matthew Guy, preferencing neo-Nazis over Labor. Just horrifying.”
The claims focused on several candidates, including Tylere Baker-Pearce, an independent running for Narre Warren South, who has posted antisemitic material, including a smiling selfie in front of the Auschwitz memorial site. But while Burns had tweeted about the Liberals preferencing Baker-Pearce, Labor was also shown to have preferenced him.
The furore was triggered by Catherine Cumming, a Western Metropolitan Region MLC.
Addressing a Melbourne anti-lockdown rally on Saturday beside Harrison McLean, who had been charged with incitement over last year’s anti-vaccine rioting, Cumming declared, “I joined the Angry Victorians Party for one reason: to make Daniel Andrews turn into red mist [a reference to being shot].” Police are probing her comments.
Separately, Timothy Dragan, Liberal candidate for Narre Warren North, apologised after being captured on audio saying Australia should not recognise First Nations, nuclear waste should be dumped in Alice Springs and he would vote for an abortion ban.
Allan declared, “Matthew Guy’s Liberal Party are preferencing Nazis, they’re preferencing extremists, they’re preferencing Catherine Cumming.” She later stood by her comments, but refused to go into further detail.
Deputy Liberal leader and Caulfield MP David Southwick told The AJN Cumming was 10th on the Liberal how-to-vote card and “has zero chance” of receiving Liberal preferences.
Telling the Premier to “put up or shut up”, Southwick condemned Labor’s claims as “baseless, disgusting and vile”, adding Allan “was unable to identify a specific example of a so-called ‘Nazi’ that we are preferencing”.
Anti-Defamation Commission chair Dvir Abramovich accused Labor of “recklessly throwing such terms”.