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Nick Xenophon won't act on 'ape' Facebook post found on candidate's shared page

8 October 2017 3:38 AM
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Senator Nick Xenophon has been drawn into another controversy involving one of his candidates, after it was revealed a social media post from an account belonging to her and her husband referred to someone looking like an "ape".

But the veteran politician has since been quizzed over a post on a shared Facebook page belonging to another of his candidates, Kelly Gladigau, and her husband Travis.

Senator Xenophon attributed the 2013 post, which refers to a person looking like an "ape", to Travis Gladigau.

"Don't you think its (sic) rather soft to be upset that a young girl called you a (sic) APE????" it stated.

A spokesman said Senator Xenophon had discussed the matter with his candidate and was "told the comment was posted by Kelly's husband".

Senator Xenophon also told media "both Kelly and her husband have close links with the Indigenous community and they don't have any racist views".

The ABC has approached the Gladigaus for comment and the joint Facebook page has also been removed.

University of Adelaide political commentator Professor Carol Johnson said she was "astonished" by the party's "obvious" oversights.

"After the problems they had in the last election, I'd have thought they'd have done their homework," she said.

"It's sort of Politics 101 really to check out your candidates and check out their social media posts."

Professor Johnson said the social media posts raised questions about the structure and competency of his SA Best party.

"It suggests that the SA Best party really doesn't have its act together administratively yet, despite the fact that [Senator] Xenophon himself has been in politics so long and is such an experienced old hand at managing the media," she said.

"The whole party is really based around the cult of personality of Nick Xenophon, and the problem with those sort of parties — and we've seen it with One Nation too — is that often they don't develop the type of party structure that is needed with the experienced administrative staff and others in place who will actually ensure that problems like this do not occur."

Professor Johnson said the missteps could be seen as "a gift to both major parties" in South Australia.

South Australian Health Minister Peter Malinauskas said Senator Xenophon had acted correctly by sacking Mr Adams because of the photos he posted.

"I think they're disturbing but Senator Xenophon has acted quickly," he said.

"He's sacked one of his own candidates within 12 hours of announcing it and that's probably the appropriate thing for him to do."

Liberal MP Vincent Tarzia, who will face a challenge from Senator Xenophon himself in the seat of Harley, agreed that firing Mr Adams was an appropriate move.

"Conduct like that is absolutely appalling and it should be dealt with fast and swift, and that candidate should definitely have been sacked."


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