Would-Be Pol Goofs on Islam, Branded 'Aussie Sarah Palin'

Stephanie Banister ends parliamentary campaign after 48 hours

By Polly Davis Doig,  Newser Staff

Posted Aug 11, 2013 9:45 AM CDT

(Newser) – Like many fledgling politicians, Stephanie Banister gave an interview with a couple of gaffes. And like a select few politicians of any experience level, her gaffes went viral. But in this case, the 27-year-old welder and Queensland parliamentary candidate's contention that Islam is a country, among other blunders, earned her the nickname the "Australian Sarah Palin" and effectively ended her campaign after 48 hours. For the record, Banister contends that the Aussie TV station that aired her interview selectively edited it so that "I was left quite the fool." Highlights from the blooper reel, as per CNN:

  • "I don't oppose Islam as a country, but I do feel that their laws should not be welcome here in Australia." Banister claims she later corrected herself, and referenced "Islamic countries," which did not make the final cut.

  • "Less than 2% of Australians follow haram." "Haram" includes things prohibited under Islamic law; CNN thinks she was referring to the Koran.
  • "Jews aren't under haram, they have their own religion which follows Jesus Christ." Not so much.
  • Banister later said a national disability insurance plan "was working at the moment;" CNN affiliate 7 News notes that it doesn't take effect til 2016.
Banister was running as a candidate for anti-immigration party One Nation, which stood by her. But, it said in a statement yesterday, "due to the threats against Stephanie's family, herself, her children, the abuse she's copped and the enormous pressure she's been put under, Stephanie has decided she wants to withdraw from the candidacy for the seat of Rankin. We have accepted it with regret."

A soccer fan holds an Australian flag before the quarterfinal between Sweden and Australia at the Women’s Soccer World Cup in Augsburg, Germany, on July 10, 2011.
A soccer fan holds an Australian flag before the quarterfinal between Sweden and Australia at the Women’s Soccer World Cup in Augsburg, Germany, on July 10, 2011.   (AP Photo/Kerstin Joensson)
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