An Australian election candidate for the ruling Liberal Party was dismissed on Wednesday due to his Islamophobic comments in an increasingly bitter campaign.
Liberal candidate Jeremy Hearn was sacked after the Herald Sun newspaper uncovered an anti-Islamic tirade spouting conspiracy theories about Muslims taking over the government.
Australian Muslims have an ideology "demanding the killing or enslavement of non-Muslim Australian citizens," Hearn wrote last year in the comment section of an online magazine.
He added that Australian Muslims should be refused citizenship as they wanted to overthrow the government and bring in Sharia law, in the comments unearthed by a local daily.
Hearn later apologized for his comments.
Victorian Liberal leader Michael O'Brien said the comments were "appalling", adding: "I absolutely refuse them, these views have never been in the Liberal Party."
It was soon followed by the resignation of fellow Liberal candidate Peter Killin, who used a conservative blog to encourage Christians to join the party to help stop gay people being elected.
Trade Minister Simon Birmingham defended the party, but admitted the candidate vetting process had failed.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison was caught on the back foot after two of his Liberal party candidates in the key state of Victoria were forced to resign within hours of each other.
The revelations are a severe embarrassment for a government already trailing in the polls, and provided ammunition for opposition leader Bill Shorten's claim the ruling party is "riddled with right-wing extremists."
In recent days the opposition has also had one candidate resign for sharing anti-Semitic conspiracies, while another apologized for sharing rape "jokes" online.
Australia goes for general elections on May 18. The polls will decide if the conservative Liberal Party will continue its term or the Labor Party will take over.
In an increasing fiery campaign, both parties are learning the value of vetting candidates even in long-shot races where they stand little chance of taking office.
The revelations have also raised questions about the caliber of Australia's politicians and their judgement.
One Nation's Steve Dickson, a former Liberal member in Queensland state, resigned this week after he was filmed groping exotic dancers during a trip to the United States.
A candidate for Clive Palmer's United Australia Party in Victoria state was revealed Wednesday to have threatened a local newspaper with lost advertising dollars if coverage did not improve.
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