A Young Liberal National party leader has been suspended from the party after he was filmed laughing at a teenager saying Australia should “stop celebrating a culture that couldn’t even invent the bloody wheel”.
Barclay McGain, chairman of the Gold Coast Young LNP, is under investigation by his own party over what the state’s Labor government has called disturbing, racist comments about Australian Aboriginal culture.
McGain has been condemned on social media after he was filmed interviewing school leavers on the Gold Coast about whether the Australian flag and anthem should be “kept or ditched”.
In footage posted online, McGain is seen laughing when one school leaver says: “I’m fed up with having all these sports stars stand out on our stages and not sing the national anthem.
“I mean we’ve got to stop celebrating a culture that couldn’t even invent the bloody wheel for God’s sake. We’ve got to start enjoying and living in western culture.”
The issue has spread to the federal political arena, with Labor senator Murray Watt saying it pointed to a “deep cultural problem” in the state LNP.
The young school leaver who made the comments has identified as an LNP volunteer who has regularly been photographed with senior LNP and Coalition figures including the prime minister, Scott Morrison, and former prime minister Malcolm Turnbull.
The footage was posted on the Gold Coast Young LNP’s Facebook page but was removed when the LNP became aware of it on Monday afternoon.
McGain, the school leaver and the individual who posted the video have been suspended under a decision made by the party’s president’s committee on Tuesday afternoon.
The matter has been referred to an internal disputes committee, which will report back to the party’s state executive next year.
Queensland LNP leader Deb Frecklington refused to be drawn on the scandal.
“It is inappropriate, the party is doing the right thing and taking action,” she told reporters, repeating herself five times.
McGain said “the powers that be” had banned him from commenting about the incident.
“It has been a whirlwind 24 hours but hopefully I can go back to being a normal 19-year-old,” he said. “I just have to let it go and move on.”
Queensland Labor’s Indigenous environment minister, Leeanne Enoch, said the opposition leader must call out racist elements in her party.
“These kinds of views should not be allowed to simmer within any organisation. It’s disturbing on many levels.”
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