The Liberal candidate for the Melbourne seat of Scullin, Gurpal Singh, has resigned over a social media post in which he criticised a Punjabi woman who accused her husband of rape and abuse.
A Victorian Liberal spokesman has told the ABC that the decision was based on new information that has come to light.
“Mr Gurpal Singh has been asked to resign as the candidate for Scullin. Singh sincerely apologises for his previous comments and has tendered his resignation,” the spokesman said.
In comments he made in response to an SBS Punjabi article published in May last year, Mr Singh reportedly dismissed a woman who detailed her experience of being raped by her husband.
Mr Singh commented that the husband was the “real victim”.
According to SBS, Mr Singh said in a Facebook post that he had “no sympathy” for the alleged victim and questioned why she had remained with her partner.
The post said the alleged rape victim had “skimmed her lover, husband and father of her two children for all these years. And now she alleges Rape”.
In separate comments during an interview on SBS Radio, Mr Singh linked same-sex marriage to paedophilia.
He made the comments in a 2017 interview, ahead of the nationwide plebiscite on same-sex marriage, in which he also suggested children raised by gay and lesbian parents were at risk of sexual abuse.
Earlier on Thursday, it was reported the former candidate was set to be on the gay dating app Grindr — in a Labor Party advertisement highlighting his contentious views.
The ALP’s social media campaign featuring Mr Singh was due to launch on Friday, using location and other data to target voters in the inner-Melbourne seats of Macnamara, Higgins and Kooyong.
The electorate of Scullin in Melbourne’s outer northern suburbs, including Diamond Creek, Epping, Wattle Glen and South Morang, is a safe Labor seat, currently held by a margin of 20.4 per cent.
The ABC has contacted Mr Singh for comment.